I posted this recipe two years ago and the put it in my “Thanksgiving Folder” because it strikes me to be an excellent holiday option. On Thanksgiving Day, what if you want to commit heresy and not have mashed potatoes? Or, what if on Friday or Saturday or Sunday, you are out of mashed potatoes or want something still rich but daringly different. This is a dish for any table, and surely for a holiday one. Turnips or parsnips or both? Feel free to freelance.
In Cooking, Blokes & Artichokes: A Modern Man’s Kitchen Handbook chef, and now author, Brendan Collings provides guidance to all men. Including the kitchen-challenged. You don’t really need courage to cook, just a smile, a great guide, and perhaps a beer in hand.
How many men, chefs exempted, have made a gratin? How many a gratin with parsnips? Or turnips?
There’s a funny story behind this recipe. At his restaurant, Brendan had ordered parsnips but turnips arrived. You don’t throw food away at a restaurant. You improvise.
Turnips, despite how they look, are sweet. That sweetness is a fine counterpoint to the saltiness of the Parmesan cheese. This is surely a fall dish you may wish to adorn your Thanksgiving or Christmas table.
Potato and Turnip Gratin
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 medium to large turnips
- 2 pounds peeled Yukon gold potatoes (about 4 large potatoes)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 shallots, finely diced
- 2 ½ cups grated Parmesan
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Butter the inside of a 10 x 15-inch Pyrex or ceramic baking dish. Slice the turnips razor thin, about Vie inch, using a very sharp knife or, ideally, a mandoline slicer (watch your fingers, lads; Thanksgiving is a bad time to head to the hospital). Follow with the potatoes.
In a medium bowl, mix the sliced turnips with half of the cream, half of the shallots, 1 cup of the Parmesan, and half of the salt and pepper. Repeat in a second bowl with the potatoes.
Now we start layering, which is a bit of a swine, but it’s necessary. First lay down a single layer of potatoes, followed by a single layer of turnips, and so on and so forth until you run out of both. Pour any excess cream left in the bowls over the top of the gratin. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup Parmesan over the top.
Chuck the gratin in the oven and bake until fork-tender and golden brown, 30 to 45 minutes. Allow it to cool off for 10 minutes before eating, as it will be incredibly hot and would otherwise burn the shit out of your mouth.
Source: Cooking, Blokes & Artichokes by Brendan Collins [Kyle, 2016]