Sunday, June 16, 2013

Potato-Fennel Gratin

My friend gave me this recipe after we each received a big fennel bulb in our weekly Bountiful Baskets.  She said it's one of her favorites, and when she says that you know it's good!

This is a savory, comforting dish, with the delicate flavor of fennel and sauteed onions.  I used regular Swiss as I was out of Gruyere and it was great.  Next time I'll watch mine a little closer, I had to run a long errand and put my husband in charge, and the edges were a bit burned, but still delicious!

Try some the next time you run across some fresh fennel!

Potato-Fennel Gratin 
From Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Total Time: 2 hr 15 min
Prep 20 min
Inactive 10 min
Cook 1 hr 45 min

Yield: 10 servings

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), or regular Swiss cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter the inside of a 10-by-15-by-2-inch (10-cup) baking dish.

Remove the stalks from the fennel and cut the bulbs in half lengthwise. Remove the cores and thinly slice the bulbs crosswise, making approximately 4 cups of sliced fennel. Saute the fennel and onions in the olive oil and butter on medium-low heat for 15 minutes, until tender.

Peel the potatoes, then thinly slice them by hand or with a mandoline. Mix the sliced potatoes in a large bowl with 2 cups of cream, 2 cups of Gruyère, salt, and pepper. Add the sauteed fennel and onion and mix well.

Pour the potatoes into the baking dish. Press down to smooth the potatoes. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of cream and 1/2 cup of Gruyère and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, until the potatoes are very tender and the top is browned and bubbly. Allow to set for 10 minutes and serve.

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