I love french inspired food, using the familiar and making it your own. The beauty of living in the melted pot, is we get to learn from each other and infuse our cultures. The brilliance of doing this, we create new experiences and new traditions for our families.
This french inspired gratin dish is for my vegetarians out there. You can easy make it vegan, by using olive oil, non dairy cream and vegan meltable cheese.
My memories of this dish, is my mom’s super cheesy version of her own take of potato gratin. It almost reminded me of her macaroni and cheese, It was one of my favorite dishes. She would make it in the Fall, as soon as the weather got a little nippy. I thought about her today and with the weather changing, I decided to make a gratin in honor of her. However, I like to take dishes that are familiar and put my own signature on them. I made mines with crispy green apples, onions, garlic and white cheddar cheese. I seasoned the apples with nutmeg, cinnamon, sea salt and black pepper. I think my southern mama, would have approved and told me, I should have went heavier on the cinnamon, the butter and of course the cream. LOL. 🙂 The recipe is a little tart, sweet and cheesy. It is not your typical heavy, creamy potato gratin, but I believe it will become one of your favorite alternatives. Bon a petit!
Enjoy and Set the Table with Love.
3 tbsp unsalted butter, a little extra for the mini dutch oven
1/2 cup onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
3 med. green apples, slice with a madoline or knife, thin round slices
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
A few thyme leaves and dried fennels ( optional)
Fine sea salt and black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream, if vegan, canned coconut milk will work
1/4 cup bread crumbs, gluten free bread crumbs for those with gluten allergies
3/4 cup grated white cheddar cheese
Few fresh thyme leaves, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375. Butter the mini dutch oven, ramekin or small baking dish.
In a large saute pan, heat 2 tbsp of the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and garlic. Cook until soft and translucent. Add green apples slices. Do not use the top or the bottom part of the apple slices, just he ones that are not covered with the peel. Add the seasonings and the fennel. Stir gently to incorporate all the flavors. Cook for about 3-4 minutes.
Transfer half of the mixture into the baking dish. Add half of the grated white cheddar cheese and add the rest of the mixture. Pour the cream over top. Sprinkle the bread crumbs, thyme leaves, and cheese on top. Dot the remaining 1 tbsp butter on top.
Bake until golden brown and bubbly, 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately, add the fresh thyme leaves on top as garnish.