Root Vegetable Gratin

This dish has been a hit with family members and friends for several years. It's a little labor intensive, but worth the effort. Even kids find it delicious, just don't tell them up front that it's made with parsnips and celery root!

4    parsnips (the size of a large carrot); rutabaga can be used if you can't get parsnips)
1  celery root (tan, rough skinned about the size of a grapefruit)
1  pound sweet potatoes
1.5 pounds Yukon Gold (or similar) potatoes
2 small cloves garlic or one large
1/2 cup chicken or turkey stock
2 cups heavy cream
Whole nutmeg and grater

A mandoline, electric slicer or a steady hand and sharp knife are important to this preparation. 

  1. Peel parsnips and cut into large pieces, cutting around the core. 
  2. Peel celery root and sweet potatoes and cut into large, manageable pieces, a couple inches in size (a handful or small fist size). 
  3. Using mandoline, an electric slicer or a sharp knife, slice vegetables into 1/8" thick slices. 
  4. Lastly, prepare potatoes in same manner. 
  5. Add all vegetable slices to a large bowl and combine with 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, a healthy grinding of fresh black pepper, the stock, and 1 cup of cream. Grate nutmeg liberally into mixture. 
  6. After combining, add more cream, up half a cup, to ensure mixture is moist and well coated, but not runny or pooling with liquid. 
  7. Coat a gratin dish(or any ceramic dish) with butter, add vegetables in an even layer. 
  8. Cut a piece of parchment paper (or foil) to fit the dish, butter it liberally, then place atop vegetables. 
  9. Cook at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes, ensuring that vegetables are tender. 
  10. Just before serving, drizzle the top of the vegetables with cream, and place under broiler until slightly browned.

This dish can be baked in the morning (or prior evening). Allow to cool completely, then refrigerate. Reheat at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, then do final browning.

Eggs with Toasted Breadcrumbs

First - my sincerest apologies for the long break between articles. Many of you may know that I've returned to the corporate world from the consulting world....I thought I was working long, hard hours before, but now......:)

Here's a simple dish inspired by Judy Rodgers of the Zuni Cafe (in S.F.). Toasted breadcrumbs along with fried eggs seems like an obscure combination - until you've tried it. Then it will seem to be an obvious combination, and one you'll return to often. The gentle crunchiness of small breadcrumbs with fried eggs is surprising. I've also used crumbles of leftover grilled polenta in this dish. 

Eggs with Toasted Breadcrumbs and Herbs
  1. Coarsely grind a few slices of rustic bread. Alternately, use Japanese panko breadcrumbs. Reserve a few tablespoons of crumbs.  
  2. Add a few leaves of fresh herbs (thyme is great). 
  3. Heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a non-stick or stainless skillet. Add the bread crumbs. 
  4. Right after the crumbs begin to brown, break 2, 3 or 4 eggs into the skillet, sunny-side up style.
  5. If you care to flip the eggs, sprinkle a the reserved crumbs over them first. 
  6. Top with an herb sprig, or a thin slice of crispy pancetta or bacon. 

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