It's the end of the crop-sharing season and to pay tribute to all the wonderful bounty we received in our CSA baskets, I decided to make a dish using some of the potatoes we had left in our pantry. I really wanted to do a dish that would stand alone, that was hearty and filling, and not just a potato side, like mashed or roasted. This is what I came up with, and I have to tell you, there were lots of oohs and ahhs over this one. It could not be easier to make. Here's how I did it:
Ham & Potato Gratin:
5-6 medium white or yellow potatoes, peeled, rinsed and sliced about 1/4 thick
3 tbsp of organic unsalted butter
1/2 red onion sliced about 1/4 inch thick
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1/4 tsp of salt
1 tsp of pepper
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
10 ounces organic, uncured ham, cut to 1/4 dice
2 cups shredded organic cheddar cheese
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup organic heavy cream
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a small skillet, melt the butter and add the onion. Cook for about 2 minutes, then add the thyme, salt, 1/4 tsp of the pepper, nutmeg, and the ham. Continue cooking for 3-4 minutes. While the onion and ham mixture is cooking, start to assemble the gratin by placing a layer of potatoes in a casserole pan that is at least 2 inches high. Overlap the potatoes so the bottom is covered. Divide the onion and ham mixture and place half on the potatoes. Cover that layer with 1/3 of the cheddar cheese and 1/4 tsp of pepper. Make another layer of potatoes, add the remaining onion and ham mix, and 1/3 of the cheddar cheese and 1/4 tsp of pepper. Top with one last layer of potatoes, overlapping as needed and cover with remaining cheddar cheese, pepper, and the Parmesan cheese. Pour the heavy cream over the top and bake for 60 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let the dish sit for 15-20 minutes before serving to allow it to cool off a bit and for the cream to thicken up.
Recommended Sides: Keeping with the crop-sharing theme, I served this with some corn that we got over the summer, that was cut off the cob and frozen in gallon freezer bags. FYI, corn freezes beautifully, no blanching needed. We have 4 gallon bags in our freezer so I was happy to use some to make a side dish. Besides, the sweetness of the corn balanced well with the savoriness of the gratin. Other options that would taste delicious, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, roasted carrots, or even a side salad.
Tips: Part of the reason this dish came together so fast is because I used a mandolin to slice the potatoes. By no means am I suggesting you spend hundreds of dollars on a new kitchen tool. If you don't have one, you can find reasonably priced mandolins that work just as good as their overly priced counterparts. I paid about $15 for mine, about 8 years ago, and it is still going strong. Check out my Products I Love page to see what I use.