A side dish fit for a governor

Entertaining

Entertaining: Gratin of potatoes and artichokes comes from an Ohio chef.

January 20, 2002|By Betty Rosbottom | Betty Rosbottom,Special to the Sun

Last year I sampled a tempting Potato and Artichoke Gratin made by my good friend, June McCarthy. June is the chef to the governor of Ohio and spends much of her time creating interesting dishes, such as this one, to serve at the official residence.

The gratin is composed of a layer of creamy mashed Yukon gold potatoes, which are covered with sauteed artichoke hearts and slivered kalamata olives. A topping of golden bread crumbs combined with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley is added before the dish is baked. The smooth potatoes contrast nicely with the crispy bread crumbs. For serving, chopped fresh basil is sprinkled over the crusty gratin.

Distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate International, a division of Tribune Media Services.

Potato and Artichoke Gratin

Makes 6 to 8 servings

4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

salt

9 tablespoons butter

1 to 1 1/3 cups milk

one 9-ounce package frozen artichokes, defrosted and patted dry, each cut in half lengthwise

2 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 / 4 cup chicken stock or water

3 / 4 cup pitted kalamata olives, cut into slivers

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

1/3 cup grated imported Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano

1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

Place potatoes in large pot and cover with cold water. Add 2 teaspoons salt and bring to boil over high heat. Cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with knife, 8 minutes or longer. Drain and return to pot.

With potato masher, mash potatoes. Mash in 6 tablespoons of the butter. Add 1 cup milk and stir to blend. If potatoes seem too dry, add 1/3 cup more milk. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Butter a large oven-to-table baking dish and spread potatoes in it.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in medium heavy skillet over medium heat. When hot, add artichokes and garlic and saute, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add stock and cook, stirring, until all liquid has been absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes more. Salt artichoke mixture, then remove from pan. Sprinkle artichoke mixture and olives over potatoes.

In same skillet set over medium-high heat, heat remaining 1 tablespoon butter until hot. Add bread crumbs and stir until just golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Mix bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese and parsley and sprinkle over gratin. (Gratin can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave at cool room temperature. Remove plastic wrap before baking.)

Bake gratin at 400 degrees on center rack until potatoes are hot and top is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Watch carefully so that bread crumb topping does not burn. Sprinkle with basil and serve.

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