Gratin is just a fancy (French) way to say put a brown crust on that dish. Preferably with cheese! And leeks are like onions, only not quite as oniony. So basically this is potatoes and onions with cheese and who wouldn't want some of that?
It makes an excellent side or vegetarian dish. Next time I may try adding ham or sausage and make it a main dish for when I'm feeling like a carnivore.
Leek and Potato Gratin
2 Tablespoons butter, plus a bit more for buttering the dish
5 cups peeled and thinly sliced yellow potatoes. I used 4 large.
salt and pepper
2 large leeks
1 garlic clove , minced
1 teaspoon Italian Herbs
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
Heat the oven to 350°. Butter a 2 quart baking dish.
I just grab a wrapped stick of butter and unwrap enough to smear butter all over the bottom and sides of the dish.
Leeks are a bit tricky to prepare. Cut off the tops and bottoms.
Cut them in half lengthwise and hold under running water to wash out the dirt that WILL be between the layers. Always.
Then lay them cut side down and slice thinly.
Layer the potatoes in the baking dish Toss the potatoes with about 3/4 teaspoon salt and several grinds of fresh pepper. Use your fingers to make sure all the slices are no longer stuck together and get their share of the S&P.
Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the leeks, garlic, a bit more S&P and the Italian herbs.
Cook and stir for about 5-7 minutes. The leeks should be starting to turn golden. Add the cream and stir. You want to get all the brown bits in the bottom of the pan mixed with the cream. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes Don't boil.
Pour the leek and cream mixture over the potatoes. Stir a bit to mix gently and then spread the shredded cheese on top.
Cover with foil and cook for 45 minutes.
Remove the foil and cook for 10 -15 minutes longer, The cheese should be bubbling and golden brown. So plan for an hour to cook and 10 minutes to cool enough so that you don't burn the roof of your mouth.
I served this with a salad. In this case, cole slaw. Next time I will try adding some browned Italian sausage. I have some waiting for me in the freezer and I have left over potatoes and cheese.