*please excuse the crappy photo…bad lighting- and no degree of food styling would have helped 🙂
This past holiday season, after attending several parties, I realized I am not a maker of side dishes. I blame it on culture – I’d be happy chowing down on rice with any main dish. But that did not reduce that sense of “lacking” in certain aspects of one’s culinary repertoire. I have a go-to chicken dish, or reliable stew recipes. But can you believe that I do not have a go-to mashed potato recipe? Don’t get me wrong I do love mashed potatoes…I just do not like making them much.
There is a potato dish that I do love. Scallop potatoes – I have an old family recipe that I have been using for a long time but I couldn’t find the right cheese to go with it here in the US. So I thought it might be time to try a variation. This recipe I got from a friend. It is a keeper! I am not much of brie cheese fan and neither is the “Hungry” hubby, but the shitake mushrooms had me at hello. And though I made a mess of it in my convection-only oven – my range oven was occupied with a rib-roast – I must say I am adding this one to the start of my side-dish line up.
Potato, Shitake and Brie Gratin
From J’s recipe file
6 good-sized red new potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
½ lb. of shitake mushrooms, stems removed
½ lb fairly firm brie cheese, rind removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup whipping cream
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoon grated parmesan
¼ cup fine dry bread crumbs
Using a mandolin, thin slicer of a food processor or a sharp knife, cut the potatoes into 1/8-inch slices. Place them in a bowl of cold water and soak for 30 minutes, changing the water twice. Drain and pat dry.
Heat oven to 425F. Butter a shallow gratin dish or glass baking dish about 10 inches across.
Thinly slice the shitake caps, cut brie into small cubes. Layer a third of the potato slices in the dish. Lay half the shitakes and half the cheese evenly over the top. Add another third of the potatoes and top with the remaining shitakes and brie. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the remaining potato slices on top.
Mix the cream, garlic and thyme and pour over the potatoes pushing down so that all the liquid is absorbed. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Mix Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs; season with salt and pepper. Remove foil from the pan and sprinkle crumb over potatoes. Place pan on rack in bottom third of the oven and bake until potatoes are very tender and the top and bottom are crusty and dark brown 30 to 40 minutes.
Be mindful when you add salt and pepper. I usually do this every layer but remember that the Brie cheese can be quite salty. As all of you can see from the picture, I made a big mess. I did not read the instructions very well when it said to cover tightly. I used my commercial strength oven - better mess up the potato than the roast; even if I dropped the temperature down to 375F it was apparently still very strong. Luckily we had the sense to put a baking sheet underneath it to catch the spillovers – I tell you there were not pretty and set off the smoke alarm. During the 2nd cooking with the bread crumbs, I had to take it out after 10 minutes or I would have burned the whole thing crisp. So if you all decide to make this just play with your oven temperatures.
The shitake mushrooms gave such a lovely flavor to the overall gratin, you can’t even tell the taste of the brie cheese which melted into a creamy coating for the potatoes. This was the first time that a potato dish lasted just for two meals in our house. Usually there would be some leftovers forgotten in the back of the refrigerator – but not this time.