Leek-Cornbread Gratin

November 20, 2007

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Breadcrumbs make gratins crispy and light. Cornbread makes them rich and nutty. This leek and onion casserole is cheesy and sweet and will make a great side dish for the big holiday or a wonderful vegetarian entrée. SAM

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
6 medium leeks, trimmed, soaked, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 3/4 cup crumbled cornbread, divided
4 ounces log goat’s cheese melted in 2 ounces water or 1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
1 ounce Gruyère cheese, grated
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large chef’s pan over medium-low heat, sweat the onions in 1 tablespoon oil until soft, about 20 minutes. Add the leeks, raise the heat to medium, and sauté, covered, until soft, about 15 minutes. In a small saucier over very low heat, melt the goat’s cheese in the water. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups cornbread, the cream or goat’s cheese mixture, and Gruyère cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn into a 10-inch gratin dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup cornbread, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and Parmesan and bake until browned, about 45 minutes.
Makes 4 servings.

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