Potato and Cabbage Gratín

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    6

Appears in

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

By Paula Wolfert

Published 2003

  • About

In this superb southwestern French gratin, a base of silky soft leaves of green cabbage are topped with a layer of crusty potatoes plus a second super-thin layer of cheese custard. The whole is baked to a golden brown crust.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds green cabbage, quartered
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter or duck fat
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 juniper berries, gently bruised
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup poultry, pork, or vegetable stock
  • 2 ounces dry-cured ham, such as Bayonne or serrano, finely diced (½ cup)
  • 1 to 1¼ pounds red potatoes (about 3 medium), sliced ¼ inch thick
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 ounces imported Cantal, aged gouda, or Swiss Gruyère, shredded

Method

  1. About 3 hours before serving, preheat the oven to 325°F. Slip the cabbage wedges into a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still green, about 12 minutes. Drain the cabbage and rinse under cold running water. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess water. Cut the cabbage into 3-inch pieces, discarding the core.
  2. Meanwhile, put 1 tablespoon olive oil and the butter or duck fat in the center of a 10-inch (9-cup capacity) baking-serving dish. Add the garlic, juniper berries, thyme, and bay leaf, cover with a lid or foil, and set on the lowest oven rack. Bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the cabbage, stock, and ham to the baking dish and stir to mix; then spread evenly in the dish. Arrange the potatoes in overlapping circles over the cabbage. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
  4. Remove the foil and lightly sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil over the potatoes. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F, transfer the dish to the upper rack, and bake for 35 minutes, or until the potatoes are lightly browned.
  5. Heat the milk in a small saucepan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole egg, egg yolk, flour, and nutmeg, Whisk in the hot milk and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the potatoes, sprinkle the cheese on top, and bake on the upper rack of the oven for 30 minutes, or until browned. Serve hot.