Fennel-and-Potato Gratin gets a punch of flavor from nutmeg and fennel. This cheesy potato gratin is impressive enough for a holiday party, but it's easy enough to put together on a busy weeknight.
3 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
1/2 (10-oz.) block sharp white Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large baking potatoes (about 2 lb.), peeled and thinly sliced
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
Garnish: rosemary sprigs
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 400°. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot; sauté 2 to 3 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute.
Whisk in flour; cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in half-and-half; cook, whisking constantly, 3 to 4 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat. Whisk in cheese until melted and smooth. Stir in salt and next 2 ingredients.
Layer potato and fennel slices alternately in a lightly greased, broiler-safe ceramic 2-qt. casserole dish. Spread cheese sauce over layers. Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake at 400° for 50 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from oven. Increase oven temperature to broil with oven rack 5 inches from heat. Uncover dish, and broil 2 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish, if desired.