Tuesday, April 28, 2009


4 to 6 servings, depending upon the size of ramekins used

An unusual dish from Lyon, France; a tender flavorful flan baked within leafy greens, and served with a delightful Garlic Cream.

Perfect for a light lunch, dinner, or an appetizer ~ don't limit the delicious Garlic Cream to only this recipe; it is fabulous on vegetables and simply prepared chicken or fish, too!

Adapted from “Simple Soirees” by Peggy Knickerbocker
Recipe yields 6 ramekins

For the Gnafron

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 carrot, diced
½ pound andouille sausage or other distinctively flavored, spicy sausage, finely chopped
1 medium onion, minced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Splash of white wine
1 Napa cabbage, separated, tough parts of the core removed (16 to 20 leaves)*
2 tablespoons unsalted butter for greasing the ramekins
4 large eggs
¼ cup heavy cream

For the Garlic Cream

3 cloves garlic
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of salt
Splash of white wine
½ cup heavy cream

To make the Gnafron~

Melt the butter in the olive oil in a heavy saucepan, add sausage, carrot, onion, thyme and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer slowly for 15 minutes; as the mixture becomes dry add the white wine. Allow to simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes; remove pan from hat and allow the sausage mix to cool for about 10 minutes.

While the sausage mix is cooking, bring about 4 cups of water to a boil in a deep skillet or pot. Salt generously, reduce heat to simmer and blanch the cabbage leaves (tender parts only)* a few at a time. Remove with tongs and allow to drain and cool on clean kitchen towels.

Butter interiors of 6 small ramekins, or soufflé dishes with butter. Line the dishes with cabbage
leaves allowing them to overlap so when the egg-sausage mixture is spooned into them they can be folded over to enclose the filling.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs with the cream, add a bit of salt and pepper. Stir the
cooled sausage mixture; mix well. Divide the mixture among the lined ramekins and fold the
overlapping leaves over the top. Do not be concerned if the mixture leaks out around the leaves.

Preheat oven to 350* (F)

Place the ramekins in a deep baking pan, large enough to hold them all. Pour warm water around them so it comes ¾ of the way up the sides of the ramekins.

Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 1 hour (begin checking at 30 minutes; mine were done in 45 minutes. When they are done, the Gnafron will be set and the top will be firm to the touch. If the tops begin to brown place a sheet of foil loosely over the tops. It’s okay if the tops get golden brown.

To make the garlic cream:

While the Gnafron bakes, make the garlic cream. In a small heavy pot combine the garlic, sugar, salt and splash of water; cook over medium low heat for a few minutes. Add a splash of dry white wine; continue to cook for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the garlic to steep in the cream until the Gnafron come out of the oven. Reheat the garlic cream over low heat (it will be thin); remove and discard the garlic.

To serve, run a knife around the sides of the ramekins to loosen the mixture. Turn out onto a platter or individual plates (or serve right in the ramekins.) Serve with a little garlic cream over the tops.

*Note on blanching the cabbage leaves: I blanch the leaves whole, then when they have drained and cooled, cut a “v” to remove the tough core part (center rib) of each leaf (cutting them out afterwards makes the leaves easier to handle and not as apt to tear while blanching.)