A vegetable gratin is my absolute top winter side dish. There are so many root vegetables to combine for a rich treat during cold weather. A gratin is, as my mother used to say, a very “forgiving” dish and it’s hard to go wrong making one.
This parsnip and carrot gratin was adapted from a carrot and cheddar gratin featured in a recent issue of “Fine Cooking”, one of my favorite food and cooking magazines.
First, I wanted to cut the size of their recipe down to serve only two-three people. I took their suggestion of substituting parsnips for half of the carrots. Next, I played with the cooking times and some of the proportions of the other ingredients. After some thought, I sliced the parsnips into thinner pieces than the carrots, since I imagined that they would take longer to become tender than would the carrots.
I served this with some grilled chicken, but, as always, a vegetable gratin makes a nice vegetarian entrée.
TIP: The gratin can be assembled earlier in the day, refrigerated and then baked just before serving. You might add 5 minutes to the cooking time if it is going straight from the fridge to the oven.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon flat-leaved parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- ¾ cup cream
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ¾ pound parsnips, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch discs (about 2 large parsnips)
- ¾ pound carrots, peeled and sliced into ½-inch discs (about 3 large carrots)
- ½ cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Butter a medium-sized gratin dish, or any shallow-sided baking dish.
- Heat the oil in a medium-sized skillet, add the onion and cook over medium heat until onions are golden-brown, about 10 minutes.
- Using a small bowl, combine the melted butter, parsley and thyme. Add the panko. Mix well. Set aside.
- Whisk the cream, mustard, salt and pepper into the onions. Add the parsnips and carrots. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until vegetables are just beginning to feel tender to a fork.
- Pour into buttered gratin dish. Top with cheddar, then panko-herb mixture.
- Bake until vegetables are tender and crust is golden brown, about 25 minutes.