‘Gratin’ is just another word for ‘casserole,’ and a lot of people make casseroles with canned soups. I’m not knocking them—they can be very tasty. Most canned soups, though, are mostly water, cornstarch, and flavorings. I think you’re much better off with your own sauce, like a buttery béchamel or this faux béchamel made of goat’s cheese and water. In baked dishes, I actually prefer the goat’s cheese. Gratins come in almost infinite variety. Once you get the pattern down, there’ll be no stopping you. SAM
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced
4 medium new potatoes (about 1 pound)
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 tablespoon marsala wine
4 ounces log goat’s cheese
4 ounces water
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unseasoned breadcrumbs, divided
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8 by 8-inch baking pan or 10-inch oval gratin dish and set aside.
In a large chef’s pan over low heat, sweat the onions in 1 tablespoon of oil, covered, until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. In a small stockpot, cover the potatoes with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Chop roughly. In a small chef’s pan over medium-high heat, sauté the artichokes in 1 tablespoon oil until lightly browned, shaking frequently, about 10 minutes. Add the marsala and stir to mix in anything stuck to the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat. In a small saucepan over very low heat, combine the goat’s cheese, bay leaf, and water, stirring until just melted.
In a mixing bowl, combine the onions, potatoes, artichokes, goat’s cheese mixture, and 1/3 cup breadcrumbs. Discard the bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Turn into the prepared baking dish, sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs and remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Bake for 50 minutes or until browned.
Makes 4 servings.