We are obsessed with gratins. They are so satisfying and simple to make, and they might be one of the most perfect dishes for entertaining—easy to assemble ahead of time and adaptable to any season. Do you know the basic template? You hardly need a recipe (although we rounded up a few goodies). Here's the easiest formula for a gratin:
• Slice a starchy vegetable—potato, sweet potato, winter squash—very thinly (a mandoline is helpful).
• Layer it in a casserole dish with some cheese and, if you want, something green.
• Pour over some cream.
• Top with more cheese, maybe some breadcrumbs.
The hardest part is the slicing, really. And here's a tip for leftovers that someone recently told us: When the gratin is chilled and firm, slice it into small chunks. Stick in some toothpicks, let the bites come to room temperature, and serve them as an appetizer.
10 Variations We'd Love to Make:
• 1. Potato Gratin with Porcini Mushrooms and Mascarpone Cheese. We forget about mushrooms when it comes to gratins, but they work beautifully.
• 2. Cauliflower and Brussels Sprout Gratin with Pine Nut-Breadcrumb Topping. More complicated than most, but we'll take any variation of Brussels sprouts.
• 3. Kale and Potato Gratin. This one has no cream at all!
• 4. Gratin Dauphinois. A step-by-step guide to making this simple, French dish of potatoes, cream, and garlic.
• 5. Sweet Potato and Sage Gratin. Such a great side dish for Thanksgiving.
• 6. Swiss Chard Gratin. Almost like a creamed spinach... mm.
• 7. Butternut Squash and Creamed Spinach Gratin. Did someone say creamed spinach? You can use frozen spinach, too, to make it easier.
• 8. Leek Gratin. A little off the typical path, but beautiful and uncomplicated.
• 9. Broccoli Gratin. We're always looking for new ways to use broccoli!
• 10. Celeriac Gratin. A mix of potato and celery root—perfect for Fall.