Barley Gratin with Beet Greens and Green Garlic

This is a healthy and delicious meal for a chilly spring day. The earthy flavor of beet greens combine well with the nutty flavor of barley and the green garlic contributes a lovely tang (but you can also use silver beet). Make the dish gluten free by using brown rice instead of barley. Ingredients 1 generous bunch beet greens or silver beet; stemmed and washed 2 tbsp olive oil 2 shallots or an onion 3 cloves green garlic peeled and sliced salt, to taste 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves 3 eggs 1/2 cup milk pepper fresh ground 1 cup barley or brown rice cooked 1/2 cup cheese, type of choice; grated

Method 1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Oil a 2-quart gratin dish with olive oil. Blanch the beet greens for one minute in a large pot of generously salted boiling water, or steam over 1 inch of boiling water for two to five minutes until wilted and tender. Rinse with cold water, squeeze out water and chop medium-fine. Set aside. 2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet. Add the onion, and cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic and a generous pinch of salt. Continue to cook for another minute or two until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the cooked greens and the thyme, and toss together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. 3. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and milk. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Stir in the greens mixture, the barley or rice, and the cheeses. Mix together well. Scrape into the oiled baking dish. 4. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until sizzling and lightly browned on the top and sides. Remove from the heat, and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from NY Times