Weekend Cooking: Gratins by Tina Salter #weekendcooking

Weekend Cooking ButtonWeekend Cooking is a weekly feature hosted by Beth Fish Reads, linking up food-related posts. Click here for links to this week’s Weekend Cooking posts on Beth Fish Reads and other blogs.

Someone wrote about gratins for Weekend Cooking not long ago, but I can’t find the post. She explained that gratins didn’t have to have cheese on top, and I realized that I had always associated the word “gratin” with a crispy topping of cheese mixed with buttery breadcrumbs or whatever else. Cheese is a common but not necessary part of a gratin, but a crispy topping is, as cookbook author Tina Salter explains at the start of her introduction to Gratins: Savory and Sweet Recipes from Oven to Table:

Gratins – baked dishes with a rich, creamy interior and a crisp golden topping – have been around for centuries. In France, the term has even taken on metaphorical meaning: the aristocracy is often referred to as le gratin, much as we would talk about the “upper crust.”
Indeed, it is the crust that makes a gratin. As the ingredients below it meld and soften, a gratin’s topping – often made with toasted bread crumbs, nuts, cheese, or a combination – becomes mouthwateringly browned and crunchy from the intense heat of the oven or broiler. It’s that contrast of creamy and crisp in every bite that makes a gratin so irresistible.

Since I first brought this cookbook home from the library a couple of months ago, I’ve borrowed it again and my husband and I have made four recipes from it and they were all fantastic and worthy of serving to company.

Gratins seem like great Thanksgiving sides or vegetarian main dishes if you have a big enough oven to slide a gratin in beside the turkey (or are lucky enough to have two ovens). Gratins can be put together ahead of time, and sometimes are even better that way.

Photo of Tomato and Chèvre Gratin
Tomato and Chèvre Gratin — My husband made this with the last of the tomatoes salvaged from the garden. Yum!
photo of plate with steak and gratin on the side
Tomato and Chèvre Gratin — not as pretty on the plate, but still delicious. This meal was gluten-free, though obviously not vegetarian.


Photo of Sausage, White Bean, and Chard Gratin
Sausage, White Bean, and Chard Gratin. Tasted much better than the photos convey!
Sausage, White Bean, and Chard Gratin — Recipe worked fine replacing bread crumb topping with pine nuts for gluten-free.
photo of Butternut Squash and Pecan Gratin with Goat Cheese
Butternut Squash and Pecan Gratin with Goat Cheese (I used pine nuts instead of pecans.) Fabulous dish!!!
Photo of Gratineed Spinach with Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins
Gratinéed Spinach with Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins. Just made this last night for dinner. Fantastic!
photo of gratin half gone
Gratinéed Spinach with Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins. Halved recipe that served 4 to 6 and two of us easily polished off the whole dish.

Made by my husband but no photos available.

Gratins has many mouthwatering color photos, but not one of every recipe, for those of you who like to see photos of the finished product. It may be that this cookbook needs that less than others, though, since all the recipes are gratins, and therefore all constructed pretty much the same way.

I didn’t hear back from the publisher when I requested permission to include a recipe. Recipe links that I found are here:

Butternut Squash and Pecan Gratin with Goat Cheese

Lemony Artichoke and Onion Gratin

Sausage, White Bean, and Chard Gratin

cover image of Gratins by Tina SalterGratins: Savory and Sweet Recipes from Oven to Table
Salter, Tina
Moore, Paul (photos)
Ten Speed, 2004

Disclosure: This book appears to be out of print. I borrowed a copy from the public library.

Happy Weekend Cooking!



7 thoughts on “Weekend Cooking: Gratins by Tina Salter #weekendcooking”

  1. Those dishes sound like they have wonderful flavor combinations, and I believe you that they taste amazing! I love crispy texture in my food, so I may have to see if my library has this cookbook too. YUM.

  2. Unless we call them by another name here, I’m not familiar with the dish, but it looks lovely and quite healthy cheese or not, too. I’m actually on the look out for cookbooks with meals I’ve never tried so I’ll put it on my list of those to look for.

Would love to have you comment!