The cheesy roast

Herby cab­bage and potato gratin with gruyère and ri­cotta

The Guardian - Feast - - News -

Prep Cook Serves 15 min 2 hr 10 min 4

1 head gar­lic, top cut off to ex­pose the bulbs

65ml olive oil Salt and black pep­per

450g de­siree pota­toes (ie, about 4), cut into 3mmthick slices (use a man­do­line, ide­ally) 3 ba­nana shal­lots, peeled and finely sliced (again, on a man­do­line, ide­ally) 2½ tsp smoked pa­prika

1 pointed sweet cab­bage, trimmed, leaves sep­a­rated 20g basil leaves, finely chopped

10g tar­ragon leaves, finely chopped

20g pars­ley leaves, finely chopped

3-4 spring onions, finely sliced

2 lemons, zested, to get 1½ tbsp, and juiced, to get 1 tbsp 200g ri­cotta 100g gruyère, grated 250ml vegetable or chicken stock Slow-roast­ing trans­forms gar­lic into a sweet and sticky ver­sion of it­self, which, when com­bined with pun­gent, raw gar­lic, gives a dish a real umami kick. I’ve taken to roast­ing four or five bulbs at a time, so I al­ways have some to hand; they keep for four days in the fridge and are great in pasta sauces and soups.

Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas 6. Take out two gar­lic cloves from the head of gar­lic, then driz­zle the rest of the bulb with a tea­spoon of oil and sprin­kle with a lit­tle salt and pep­per. Wrap tightly in foil and roast for 40 min­utes, un­til the cloves are soft and golden brown. Re­move the foil and, when cool enough to han­dle, squeeze out the cloves and dis­card the pa­pery skins.

While the gar­lic is roast­ing, pre­pare the rest of the veg­eta­bles. Com­bine the pota­toes, shal­lots and pa­prika in a bowl with two ta­ble­spoons of oil, half a tea­spoon of salt and plenty of pep­per. Toss the cab­bage leaves in a ta­ble­spoon of oil, a quar­ter-tea­spoon of salt and lots of pep­per. Roughly crush the two re­served cloves of raw gar­lic and mix with all the herbs, the spring onions, le­mon zest and the cooked gar­lic. Set aside a quar­ter of the herb mix­ture – you’ll use it later as a gar­nish.

Ar­range a third of the cab­bage leaves over the base of a 20cm x 30cm, high-sided bak­ing dish. Cover with half the potato and shal­lot mix­ture, top that with a third of the herb mix­ture, then dot half the ri­cotta and gruyère over the herbs. Re­peat these four lay­ers again, then top ev­ery­thing with a fi­nal layer of cab­bage and the last of the herb mix­ture.

Com­bine the stock, le­mon juice and a quar­ter-tea­spoon of salt and pour evenly over the bake, lift­ing up some of the cab­bage leaves so the liq­uid sinks down. Cover tightly with foil and bake for an hour and 10 min­utes, un­til the cab­bage and pota­toes are soft and cooked through. Re­move the foil, driz­zle over the re­main­ing ta­ble­spoon of oil and bake, un­cov­ered, for 10 min­utes more, un­til the cab­bage be­gins to crisp up and turn golden brown. Re­move from the oven, leave to cool for 10 min­utes, then fin­ish with the re­served herbs and serve.

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