Potato and Fennel Au Gratin

fennel pic 795Ingredients:
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
3 pounds starchy potatoes, such as Russet, Idaho or Yukon Gold, scrubbed but not peeled, very thinly sliced (about an 1/8 inch)
2 ½ cups shredded Parmesan cheese (or a combination of gruyere and Parmesan), plus extra for topping
1 large fennel bulb, cored and very thinly sliced (about an 1/8 inch)
2 cups half & half
4 tablespoons butter
Fresh thyme or parsley for garnish

Directions:
Spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. Mix salt, pepper and thyme leaves in a small bowl to create seasoning mix.

Starting with ¼ of the potatoes, create a layer on the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping potato slices until the bottom is covered. Sprinkle lightly with seasoning and ½ cup of cheese.

Add a layer using ½ of the fennel slices. Sprinkle lightly with seasoning mix and another ½ cup of cheese. Repeat this process with another potato layer and another fennel layer. Add a top layer of potatoes slices, and then pour the half and half over the top. Sprinkle with seasoning mixture and remaining ½ cup of cheese. Dot with the butter.

Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove foil and test to make sure potatoes are tender. Add additional cheese over the top, if desired. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until top is golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves or parsley if desired.

Serves 6 to 8.

For best results, potatoes and fennel should be sliced as thinly as possible – a mandolin makes fast work of this task.

Gluten Free / Vegetarian