Barley and Kale Gratin
- ⅔ cup pearl barley
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 large bunch of kale, stems removed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 ½ cup milk
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup grated cheese (sharp cheddar or Asiago)
In a saucepan add the barley to 1 qt. boiling water along with ½ teaspoon salt, and simmer uncovered until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain.
While the barley is cooking, cook the kale in a skillet of boiling salted water until tender, 5 minutes. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of cooking liquid. Puree the kale and its cooking liquid until smooth.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan, whisk the flour and then whisk in the milk. Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat until thick. Season with allspice, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Combine all ingredients (barley, pureed kale, sauce and cheese) and check for seasoning. Transfer to a lightly buttered baking dish or ramekins. Bake at 375 degrees until lightly browned on top, 30 minutes.
Recipe Note: Use variations such as collards instead of kale, add cherry tomato halves and sweet onion, and use oregano and garlic instead of nutmeg and allspice in the sauce. From David Van Eeckhot of Hog's Back Farm in Arkansaw, Wisconsin.