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Chard Gratin with Cheddar + Butter Toasted Almonds
600 g chard
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp plain our
325 ml whole milk
2 sprigs thyme
175 g Cheddar
75 g almond flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
100 g panko breadcrumbs
- Cut the stalks of the chard into 4cm lengths. Cut the leaves into rough 10cm squares. Boil a kettle and put a medium saucepan over a high heat. Pour the boiling water into the saucepan, season with salt and add the stalks. Boil for 10 minutes then add the leaves and take it off the heat. After another minute drain into a colander. Finely grate the zest of the lemon and save it for later. Squeeze the juice from the lemon over the chard. Toss it together and let it dry.
- Put a medium saucepan over a high heat and add 1 tbsp of the butter then stir in the our to make a roux. Let it cook out for a minute until it's just beginning to turn golden. Start pouring in the milk a little at a time, fully incorporating it to make a smooth paste before adding more. Once all the milk has been added season the sauce well and simmer for 2 minutes. Strip the leaves from the thyme, finely chop and add them to the sauce. Grate in the cheese and add the lemon zest. Stir until the cheese has melted.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Put a small saucepan over a medium heat and add the remaining 1 tbsp of butter. Let it melt and foam then add the almond flakes and garlic powder. Toast, stirring regularly, until they're golden brown all over and the butter smells nutty.
- Lay the chard into a baking dish and pour over the cheese sauce. Add half of the almonds and mix everything together in the dish. Scatter over the breadcrumbs and bake for 10 minutes, until the top is a deep golden brown. Leave for 5 minutes before scattering over the remaining almonds.
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