“Artichokes are abundant at our winter markets. This is adapted from a dish that I used to make at Chez Panisse.” ~ Chef Andrew
For a 2 quart 11×7 inch gratin:
4-5 large Yukon Gold potatoes
2 cups thinly sliced artichoke hearts, 3/16ths of an inch (either hearts from large artichokes, or, preferably, sliced little ones)
4 cloves of garlic-peeled and de-germed and minced, plus 1 whole peeled clove
¼ cup grapeseed or light flavored olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 cups heavy cream (a dense vegetable or chicken stock could be used for some or all of the cream for a different, lighter result)
Rub the gratin dish vigorously with the whole peeled clove of garlic. This will flavor the dish with a subtle aroma of garlic.
In a large sauté pan heat the oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the artichoke slices and toss to coat with the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook to color and soften.
When artichoke slices are softened but not quite done, turn down the heat to medium low and make a place in the center of the pan where you can see the bottom. Add a touch of oil if the pan is dry, and add the garlic and sauté until softened and fragrant. Stir into the artichokes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Slice the potatoes into 3/16th inch slices and reserve in a bowl of cold water to prevent discoloration.
Drain the potatoes and reserve enough of the biggest slices to cover the gratin 2 times. Load in the potatoes to come half way up the dish. Season with salt and pepper.
Layer in the artichokes, and scatter with half the thyme.
Carefully arrange potato slices, generously overlapping, on top to finish the dish. You should have 3 potato slices deep for the length of each slice.
Season with a little more salt and pepper, and then gently pour the cream over the dish. You should have enough liquid to come just to the top or a touch below. Gently use your fingertips to push down on the potatoes to compact a little. Scatter the remaining thyme over the dish. If your liquid level is very short, add some milk, or stock, or water, to bring it up to where it needs to be.
Bake in a pre-heated 400°F oven in the center until golden and bubbling, approximately 1 hour. The cream should be almost entirely absorbed, and if it is not, and the dish is done (the surface golden and the potatoes quite tender when pierced with a knife) use a paper towel dipped into a corner to wick off the excess liquid. Use less cream next time. I would recommend putting a sheet pan under the gratin to keep mess to a minimum on the oven floor.
When done, remove from the oven and allow the gratin to cool a few minutes before serving. This allows the dish to firm up a little and may help prevent scorched tongues.
This dish can be made in advance and will keep warm quite a while. You can also cool it and reheat it easily enough in a hot oven.
YIELD: Serves 4-6
SOURCE: Chef Andrew Cohen