This is a belly lab recipe by Sister Tess, developed to take advantage of some of the beautiful new varieties of potatoes that are turning up in our markets in spring.
I don’t think quantities really matter in this dish, you can make a big one as it reheats well, and you can adapt it to use whatever veg you have available. It turns out amazingly light for a potato gratin, as the blanching removes some starch and most of the liquid comes from the vegetables themselves, not the more usual cheese and milk or cream. The blanching also cuts the cooking time.
SPRING POTATO GRATIN
about 500 g. to 1 kg each of waxy potatoes and other vegetables in season
nutmeg, salt, pepper
2-3 tbs freshly grated parmesan
cream or yogurt (opt.)
Peel and slice very fine (possibly with a mandolin) some delicious new season waxy spuds like Dutch Creams, blanch them in lots of boiling water.
Clean, slice and blanch whatever veg you need to pick from the veggie patch or like at the market – I used celeriac (whole plant, roots and leaves) and leeks.
If using bacon, cut it into small cubes and fry it to render out the fat. Use the fat to grease the bottom of a baking tray, otherwise use butter or olive oil.
Layer potatoes, then veg, season layers with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and bacon cubes. Finish with spuds and a light grating of parmesan.
Add enough milk to come close to the top of the layers. You can mix the milk with richer dairy items or water it down with water, but the veg will release some liquid.
Bake in a hot oven, about 180 to 200C, until browned and cooked (30-50 minutes)