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