Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Gratin Duo: Squash Gratin and Potato-Fennel Gratin

I am a huge fan of gratin.  A lot of melted cheese, with vegetables mixed in, what is not to love?

Since I made two gratins recently, a potato-fennel version and a squash-cottage cheese version, I decided to include both recipes in this one post, kind of like a 2-for-1 special!

I tried the potato-fennel gratin after seeing a recipe in a cookbook by Ina Garten and decided that the combination was so tempting that I had to make it immediately!  I tried the squash gratin about two weeks ago when I had extra cottage cheese and started looking up recipes so that I could finish the cottage cheese before it went bad.  I think that from these two dishes, you can get a good idea of how very different but equally delicious a gratin can be, no matter your preferences.

On a side note, if anyone is looking for recipes for Thanksgiving dinner or any other holiday dinners that are coming up, I think that these dishes are great!  I have more ideas for party appetizer recipes and Thanksgiving recipes and I hope to feature them on the blog soon!

Squash and Cottage Cheese Gratin
Adapted from
Makes 6 servings

1 1/2 cups small-curd low-fat or nonfat cottage cheese
1 pound squash (I used yellow squash and zucchini)
Salt to taste
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced 
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 eggs
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese
Freshly ground pepper

1. Place the cottage cheese in a strainer set over a bowl, and drain for 20 minutes while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Cut the squash into rounds that are 1/4 of an inch thick and place in a large bowl or colander. Sprinkle with salt and toss. Allow to sit for 20 minutes. Squeeze out excess water, then squeeze in a towel to dry.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 2-quart gratin or baking dish. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium frying pan, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic, and stir for another 30 seconds to a minute until fragrant. Remove from the heat.

3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the cottage cheese, parsley, Gruyère, onion and garlic, and squash. Combine well. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and scrape into the oiled baking dish. Bake 45 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Remove from the heat, and allow to sit for five to ten minutes before serving. You can also serve this warm or at room temperature.

 Potato-Fennel Gratin
adapted from the barefoot contessa cookbook
Makes 8-10 servings

1 large fennel bulb
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-5 large russet potatoes
2 cups heavy cream
2 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 10 cup gratin dish or a baking dish.

2.  Remove the stalks of the fennel and cut the bulbs in half.  Slice the fennel into thin slices to get about 4 cups of fennel.  Saute the fennel and onions in the olive oil on low heat for about 10 minutes, until tender.

3.  Peel the potatoes and slice them thinly by hand or with a mandoline.

4.  In a large bowl, combine the sliced potatoes, the fennel and onion, the heavy cream, 2 cups of Gruyère chees, salt, pepper, and mix well.

5.  Pour the potatoes into the baking dish and smooth until the potatoes for an even layer.  Sprinkle the remaining Gruyère cheese on top.

6.  Bake uncovered for 1 1/2 hours, until the potatoes are soft and the top is brown and bubbly.  Allow it to cool for 10 minutes and serve.



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