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Cheesy Weekend Brunch: Mushroom and Leek Gratin

The original fontina—Fontina Val d’Aosta PDO—is an ancient Alpine cheese that’s been made in the mountains of northwest Italy since at least the 1500s. Besides being one of the oldest identifiable cheeses out there, the wheel (whether PDO or not) is known for its glorious meltability. Nutty and sweet, it matches up well with a variety of winter dishes, like this luxurious mushroom and leek gratin. Over the next five weeks, we’ll bring you our favorite recipes with fontina. So go ahead—get grating!

Mushroom and Leek Gratin
Rich and earthy, this gratin is perfect for cold winter nights. Pair with roast chicken, beef, or lamb.
  1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  2. 4 leeks (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise, rinsed, and cut crosswise into ½-inch slices
  3. 1 cup chicken stock
  4. ¾ cup heavy cream
  5. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  6. 1 pound oyster mushrooms, stemmed, halved if large
  7. 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  8. Leaves from 4 sprigs thyme
  9. Kosher salt, to taste
  10. Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  11. 6 ounces fontina cheese, grated (about 1¾ cups)
  12. 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  1. Heat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy 9-inch skillet (preferably oven-safe) over medium-high heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add chicken stock and cream. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by half, 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, warm oil in another large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, about 12 minutes. Lower heat to medium and add garlic and thyme. Cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.Add mushrooms and fontina to leek mixture and stir. Transfer to a 9-inch-by-9-inch baking dish if skillet is not oven-safe.
  5. In empty skillet, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and crispy, about 8 minutes. Top mushroom-leek mixture with breadcrumbs.
  6. Bake until golden and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes.
culture: the word on cheese https://culturecheesemag.com/

Photographed by Lauren Volo

Molly Shuster

Molly is a freelance food stylist, writer and recipe developer. She is one of the co-recipe editors of Gather Journal and has had her work published in various publications including Boston Magazine, Yankee Magazine, The New York Times, Food and Wine, Family Fun, The Boston Globe and Edible Vineyard, among others. Molly currently divides her time between New York and Boston.

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