One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is green bean casserole in all of its goopy mushroom soup glory—it's not the classiest of dishes, but man, I could eat that stuff all day. But as much as I love green bean casserole, I know that plenty of others are not so fond of it, and I set out to find a substitute in Alton Brown's Good Eats 2: The Middle Years.
This Beet Green Gratin ended up filling in for my beloved casserole perfectly, treading the line between kitschy (Ritz cracker topping) and classy (ricotta and beet greens). The slightly bitter beet greens are sautéed with mushrooms and garlic, and folded into a rich mix of eggs, Parmesan, and ricotta. Topped with crumbled Ritz crackers (I was dubious, but it was delicious), the gratin was super creamy and cheesy, with plenty of earthy flavor from the beet greens.
Dare I say it? It was even better than green bean casserole.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Good Eats: The Middle Years to give away this week.
- Yield:6 to 8
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan
- 12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound beet greens cleaned, stemmed, and roughly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 large eggs, lightly, beaten
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, freshly grated or ground
- 2 ounces butter crackers, crumbled
Heat the oven to 375°F.
Melt the butter in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the beet greens and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens begin to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk together the eggs, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Fold the cheese mixture into the slightly cooled greens.
Pour this into a lightly buttered 9-by-11-inch glass baking dish and top with the crumbled crackers.
Cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or until the crackers are nicely browned. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.