Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Potatoe, Fennel, Leek Gratin

So here is a recipe using Leeks
by Kira ryder

One might imagine with the holidays behind us that the concept of "eating light" would kick in. Oh well. On our way to Rainbow Bridge this evening I suggest Potato Gratin and Eric said, "Yes. That is What I Want."

1. Heat the Oven to 375.
2. Cut a piece of garlic in half and smear all the sides of a 9x12 baking dish.
3. In a heavy bottomed pan (like a Creuset Dutch oven) pour in a quart of milk. (If you are trying to gain weight, make it a half n half creme to milk mixture).
4. Peal and thinly slice a lot of your favorite potatoes. Tonight we used the Yellow Finnish ones they had a Rainbow. I think i peeled and sliced about 9 or so. Add to the milk as you go cuz peeled and sliced potatoes do not respond well to open air.
5. Thinly Slice 2 large leeks and wash. Drain and add to milk mixture.
6. Thinly slice 3 cloves garlic and add to milk mixture.
7. Tonight I added 2 bay leaves, some dried thyme (fresh sprigs is also great), freshly ground nutmeg, white pepper (did not feel like grinding fresh so added already ground), and lots of freshly ground black pepper. I think this is a pretty standard offering. Obviously there is room for experimentation.
8. I start the heat at medium under the milk and potato mixture. I was busy blogging about class today and my latest discovery of my own depression and I did not want to watch the milk come to a boil. So I set the timer for about 15 minutes and came back to check every so often. In general, you want to bring the mixture to a boil slowly and then turn down and simmer until the potatoes become soft, but not to the point of falling apart.
9. Slice up a big bulb of fennel as thinly as possible. Once milk has come to boil and you are simmering it, add fennel.
10. Grate the block of Gruyere that you can get at Rainbow. Seems like a shy 2 cups but I did not measure.
11.. When ready, use a slotted spoon to bring some of the potato mixture into the gratin dish. Sprinkle with some cheese, some ground black pepper and a little freshly grated nutmeg. Layer some more potato mixture and repeat. Layer the last layer and add enough of the milk to come up to the edge of the top potatoes. Cover with remaining cheese and dot with butter. (Clearly there was no resolution to lose weight!)
12. Put in oven and set timer to 45 minutes. Check on gratin. You want a nice toasty brown crust and not too much bubbling. When done, remove and make a simple sharp green salad to cut it.
13. Tonight I made a dressing with garlic, shallots, Serrano, Meyer lemon rind, Meyer lemon juice, country mustard and olive oil. The Salad was Butter Lettuce with cilantro and celery. (Fridge Review, baby).

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