Potato-Fennel Gratin with Pont l'Évêque
This spin on the classic French potato gratin uses Pont l'Évêque for a full, rich flavor and enticing aroma. The method results in excellent texture, and this dish will really satisfy when temps begin to drop. For the fullest flavor, look for an authentic Pont l'Évêque such as Le Pommier.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- One apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (optional)
- 6 half-inch wide slices of Le Pommier Pont l'Évêque.
- Salt and pepper
- ►Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- ►Pour olive oil into a 4-quart saucepan. Gently sauté garlic and thyme sprigs 3-4 minutes to release their flavor. Do not allow the garlic to burn. Add sliced fennel and continue cooking 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and slice into thin, uniform slices using a mandoline.
- ►Discard thyme sprigs; remove garlic and fennel mixture from pan and set aside. Place potato slices in pan and pour in heavy cream. Add salt and pepper. Gently warm the mixture, stirring occasionally until the cream starts to bubble, but do not bring to a boil. Once the cream begins to bubble, remove from heat.
- ►Grease an 8x8” oven-safe baking dish with some of the butter, and carefully spoon 3-4 layers of potato slices into the dish. If the potato slices are stuck together, use your spoon to spread them out a bit. Next, pour in the fennel and garlic mixture and spread around to make one layer.
- ►If using, add a layer of apple slices over the fennel. Lay the Pont l'Évêque slices on top, and cover with layers of the remaining potatoes. Pour the cream mixture into the dish until the top layer of potato slices is just covered. Dot the surface with any remaining butter and add salt & pepper.
- ►Cover the baking dish with foil and place in the oven for one hour, removing the foil halfway through. You may wish to melt a few more slices of Pont l'Évêque on top of the gratin during the last 5 minutes of baking.
- ►Remove from oven and allow to cool until it is safe to serve.
- You may choose to leave the rind on the Le Pommier Pont l'Évêque or trim it away. Leaving the rind on will result in a much stronger flavor in your gratin.
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