One of my favourite dishes to cook whenever I am stumped for a side dish or if I need to 'beef up' a meal is to make a Gratin. To get a bit technical, culinary wise, a Gratin is usually layers of a vegetable mixed with cream and topped off with a browned crust, often using breadcrumbs or grated cheese. The gratin is baked and is traditionally served in its baking dish.
My preference when making gratins is to use potatoes as I love the starchiness of the potatoes and the cream and butter just seem to meld so nicely with potatoes. I also love to top it off with crispy bacon. This is what I do for a Potato Gratin.
6 potatoes thinly sliced
1.5 cups cream
6 slices bacon - chopped
150g Cheddar Cheese - grated
Grease a shallow baking dish. Fry the bacon until well cooked - it will crisp a little more in the oven but not much. Heat the cream and butter over low heat until butter is melted whisking to combine. Layer the potatoes in the dish and then pour over the cream between layers. Top with cheese and bacon. Bake in a 190C oven till potatoes are nicely cooked through.
If you prefer a variation on the same these, just substitute the potatoes for cauliflower, or broccoli or any other vegetable you like really. Sometimes I add some garlic to the mix or even fry some onions first and add it in.
This is how the Cauliflower Gratin looks like. I didnt fry the bacon quite as long as I did for the potato gratin and so it turned out slightly less crispy. Still delicious though!
This dish is really simple and yet makes quite a stunning side dish. Enjoy!