This recipe first appeared in the Oct. 10, 2012 edition of “From Tali’s Kitchen,” my biweekly cooking column in Binah magazine.
I promised you a no-bake dessert. But as I started putting the post together, I noticed that the photos of it were already resized. Weird. It was almost as if…as if I had already posted it.
So I did a quick search on the blog, and yeah. I posted it already. How embarrassing.
It makes sense, of course, that I put that dessert up long ago. After all, it ran in Binah back in November 2011, and though I don’t always put up my Binah recipes quickly, I don’t drag my feet for that long.
Except for that time I developed an easy, lightened-up potato gratin and never told you about it. The months went by, the seasons changed, and I never breathed a word about this awesome gratin that was being featured over and over in our meals.
How could I?
So I’m telling you now.
A gratin is usually (but not here!) a high-fat dish that involves heavy cream, plenty of butter, a good amount of cheese, and breadcrumbs. You can use practically any vegetable as the base, or mix and match a little. I developed this recipe as a broccoli plus two-toned-potato thing, but I’ve most often made it with just white potatoes since they’re what I tend to have on hand.
What I love most about this version of the dish is that 1% milk and a few handfuls of cheese can go such a long way. It’s because of them that the potato slices turn soft and creamy, emerging from the oven tasting rich — but without the oodles of extra calories.
The next time you have milk in the fridge and potatoes in the veggie bin, give this dish a whirl. It’s a keeper around here.
One year ago: Stove top popcorn
Yield: 4 or 5 servings
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 smallish white potatoes, peeled
- 2 smallish sweet potatoes, peeled
- 1 cup frozen broccoli florets, partially defrosted
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan or mozzarella, divided
- 1 cup 1% milk, approximately
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Dried thyme, to taste
- Caraway seeds, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F/200 C. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8×8 baking dish with butter, reserving whatever remains of the tablespoon.
2. Slice potatoes thinly, about 1/8 inch thick. A mandoline does this quickly, but a quality (and properly sharpened) chef’s knife will do the job, too.
3. In a medium bowl, mix the potato slices with broccoli, ½ cup cheese, and spices. Don’t be shy with the seasoning!
4. Transfer everything to the prepared baking dish and even out the surface. Pour milk over the top until it comes about half-way up the vegetables, then press everything down with a spatula to wet as much of it with the milk as you can (the pieces closest to the top will be mostly dry, which is okay). Cut the remaining butter into small pieces and add here and there to the top of the dish.
5. Bake (uncovered) for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and press vegetables down again with that trusty spatula. Everything will have reduced a bit by this time, and it should all be able to touch the milk. Top with the remaining ¼ cup of cheese and return to the oven for an additional 30 minutes, still uncovered.
6. Check the gratin. Once the cheese has browned (to the point of being almost too brown), turn off the heat and let it sit inside the oven for another 15 minutes. The residual heat will finish cooking the vegetables without burning the cheese. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.