Summer is coming: Gratin Be Gone

[25 Apr 2007 | By | 5 Comments]

Quick: before summer is officially here, make this gratin. You—and I—won’t want these thick, buttery, cheesy carbohydrates mid-summer when we are concerned about our midriffs. But the caveat is: this gratin satiates and fills you with even a small portion (I am all in favor of trimming portion sizes so I can still enjoy favorite dishes!). I make this gratin for big holiday meals, when I am asked to ‘bring potatoes’ or ‘bring a side dish.’ It always pleases, and I especially love the inclusion of one of my favorite vegetables: fennel.

This is a recipe [adapted] from Barefoot Contessa, one of my regular kitchen companions. The last time I made these, I used a cylinder cookie/pastry cutter and a sprig of thyme to give these servings of gratin a gourmet look. It took me two seconds to cut them into circles—and the presentation was well worth it!

Potato Fennel Gratin
2 small fennel bulbs
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 pounds russet potatoes (4 large potatoes)
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese (1/2 pound)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Butter the inside of 9 x 13; remove fennel stalks and cut the bulbs in half lengthwise, removing cores. Peel potatoes; slice fennel, onion and potatoes on mandoline/in cuisinart. Set potatoes aside. Saute fennel/onions for 15 minutes in olive oil and butter.

Mix potatoes in a bowl with 2 cups of cream, 2 cups of Gruyère, salt, pepper. Add sauteed fennel and onion and mix well. Pour into the baking dish; press down to smooth top. Combine 2 T of cream and 1/2 cup Gruyère and sprinkle on top. Bake for 1 1/2 hours at 350; the top will be browned and bubbly. Allow to set for 10 minutes and serve.

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  • Linda, The Village Vegetable said (25 April 2007 at 2:07 pm):

    don’t worry we have through the weekend. rain’s expected. sidenote: i’m still running!

    this looks so incredibly sinful. my bikini will hate me for it, but i don’t care!

  • Karen said (25 April 2007 at 7:16 pm):

    It must be something about the moon, but I too have been craving potatoes this week. Potatoes Anna is my favorite food EVER, but your gratin might come very close. I wonder if I love potatoes becuase they’re so good at sucking up all that lovely cream and butter.
    This looks delicious.

  • Kat said (26 April 2007 at 9:30 am):

    OMG…I have to tell you, that I’ve made this recipe before and it was a complete and ultimate disaster! I have no idea what I did (I’m pretty sure I ignored the recipe – or convinced myself that I memorized it!), but the potatoes were raw, I didn’t saute the fennel – that part I remember clear as day – and the cream curdled! I was a water, crunchy, sour mess of a dish that made me cry into my tea towel. LOL!

    I’m going to try it again though, and you are my inspiration. I will not fail a second time!

  • Kristen said (26 April 2007 at 9:51 am):

    Those look beautiful! Summer or wintertime, I’m giving these a try. Yum!

  • aria said (1 May 2007 at 6:49 pm):

    that looks absolutely DELICIOUS. i love the wya feb=nnel tastes when its cooked so much!