Because I'm a big fan of cheese, obviously one of my childhood favorites was Au Gratin Potatoes. There was nothing better than those decadent layers of potato and cheese (except for maybe Mac & Cheese, but thats another blog for another day). I recently discovered a recipe from Tasting Table that kicks the typical gratin up a notch or two. It calls for a whole cornucopia of root vegetables. If you can't find one on the list below in your local grocery store or farmers' market, trade it out for something you do have. You can use celery root, yuka, radishes, or even beets. Get creative with the cheese you use as well. There are so many out there, and whichever you choose will take your dish to a new place. I'm a big fan of gruyere, swiss, and parmesan but use what you have on hand or what looks good at the market.
Food should be fun and kitchen gadgets make hanging out in the kitchen even more exciting. To make this dish, you will want a mandolin. This handy kitchen tool is going to give you thin even cuts that will make layering easy and your end product look gorgeous. Pro tip: watch your knuckles and finger tips. There is more than one way to skin a cat and a mandolin will take of a layer or two of skin if you aren't careful.
This dish is the perfect party food. Not only is it super tasty, but it looks like a million bucks
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 cups grated cheese (use any blend you like or have on hand)
- 1 tablespoon, plus 2½ teaspoons, WST Herb Sea Salt, divided
- 1 pound parsnips, thinly sliced
- 1 pound rutabaga, thinly sliced
- 1 pound sweet potatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 pound turnips, thinly sliced
- 1 pound potatoes, thinly sliced
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 1 cup course bread crumbs (I didn't have any on hand, so I just used the fine kind from the can)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Preheat the oven to 400º and grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with the butter.
- In the greased baking dish, layer the parsnips in overlapping layers to cover the bottom of the dish. Season with ½ teaspoon of WST Herb Salt and scatter ½ cup of the cheese mixture over top. Continue this process of layering, seasoning and scattering ½ cup of the cheese mixture with the rutabaga, sweet potatoes and turnips. Layer the potatoes last and season with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Do not top with any cheese.
- In a small pan, combine the cream with the remaining 1 tablespoon of salt, garlic and black pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then remove from the heat and pour into the dish over the vegetables. Place a piece of parchment directly over the vegetables and bake until the vegetables are tender when pierced with a paring knife, 45 to 50 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss the bread crumbs with WST herbs and olive oil. Remove the baking dish from the oven and discard the parchment. Scatter the remaining 1 cup of grated cheese over the vegetables, followed by the bread crumb mixture. Return to the oven and bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes more.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes before cutting.
Recipe adapted from Tasting Table's 100 Layer Gratin