POTATO AND CABBAGE GRATIN (a Hungarian recipe, for four)
For the cabbage and potatoes:
1/3 cup diced (¼ inch) slab bacon
¾ cup diced (¼ inch) onion
1-½ cups diced (½ inch) Yukon Gold potatoes
1 small bay leaf
1-1.4 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 cups sliced (1 inch squares) green cabbage
½ cup heavy cream
For the bread crumbs:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-¼ cups fresh bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
¾ cup grated Comte or Gruyere cheese
1. Heat the oven to 425*. Place the bacon in a 12 inch saute pan, set over medium heat, and cook for about 2 minutes to render some fat. Add the onion and saute, stirring frequently, until the bacon is crisp and the onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, bay leaf, salt and pepper and saute for 2 minutes. Add the cabbage and saute, stirring frequently, until it wilts a bit, 5 to 7 minutes.
2. Turn the cabbage mixture into a large bowl. Pour the cream into a saucepan and boil over high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Pour the cream over the cabbage and stir to mix.
3. Slide the cabbage mixture into a shallow 1-½ or 2 quart casserole dish. Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, make the bread crumbs: Melt the butter in a 10 inch skillet over low heat. When it’s foamy, add the bread crumbs and saute, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until crisp and golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the garlic, salt, cayenne pepper, mustard and parsley, stirring well to combine.
5. Sprinkle the casserole with the cheese, then with the bread crumbs, and return to the oven, uncovered. Bake until fragrant and bubbling slightly around the edges, about 5 minutes.
from The New York Times, January 22, 2003