All I Want for Christmas Is An Easy, Elegant Side Dish

December 18, 2012 | By | Comments (0)
Photo: Jennifer Davick. Styling: Amy Burke.

Photo: Jennifer Davick. Styling: Amy Burke.

Everyone needs a doable side dish that will impress family and friends at Christmas dinner, and for our money, Fennel-and-Potato gratin is just the thing. If you like to dress up the table at the holidays, as we do, serve the gratin in a silver-plated casserole holder, which Santa will surely bring you if you ask him (very) nicely.

Fennel-and-Potato Gratin
Makes: 8 servings
Total time: 1 hour, 22 minutes

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 (10-oz.) block sharp white Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 large baking potatoes (about 2 lb.), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • Garnish: rosemary sprigs

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot; sauté 2 to 3 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute.

2. Whisk in flour; cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in half-and-half; cook, whisking constantly, 3 to 4 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat. Whisk in cheese until melted and smooth. Stir in salt and next 2 ingredients.

3. Layer potato and fennel slices alternately in a lightly greased, broiler-safe ceramic 2-qt. casserole dish. Spread cheese sauce over layers. Cover with aluminum foil.

4. Bake at 400° for 50 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from oven. Increase oven temperature to broil with oven rack 5 inches from heat. Uncover dish, and broil 2 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish, if desired.

 

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