POTATO AND WILD MUSHROOM GRATIN (for eight)
½ pound fresh wild or exotic mushrooms such as chanterelles or shiitakes (discard shiitake stems) trimmed and coarsely chopped
2-½ tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ pound fresh crimini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced ¼ inch thick
1-½ teaspoons minced garlic
3 pounds russet (baking) potatoes
1-½ cups heavy cream
1-½ cups whole milk
1-½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 ounces finely grated Gruyere cheese (1 cup)
1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400*.
2. Cook chanterelles or shiitakes with salt and pepper to taste in 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and mushrooms are tender, about 8 minutes, then transfer to a bowl. Cook cremini in remaining 1-½ tablespoons butter in skillet, stirring, until liquid is evaporated and mushrooms are tender, about 8 minutes, then transfer to bowl with wild mushrooms. Toss mushrooms with 1 teaspoon garlic.
3. Peel potatoes and cut crosswise into 1/8 inch thick slices (preferably with an adjustable blade slicer). Bring potatoes, cream, milk, salt, white pepper, nutmeg and remaining ½ teaspoon garlic to a boil in a 4 to 6 quart heavy pot. Stirring once or twice, then remove from heat.
4. Transfer half of potatoes to a buttered gratin dish with a slotted spoon, spreading evenly. Spread mushrooms evenly over potatoes, then top with remaining potatoes. Pour cooking liquid over potatoes and sprinkle with cheese.
5. Bake gratin until top is golden brown and potatoes are tender, 60 to 65 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
NOTE: For a more elegant presentation, cut out rounds from the gratin with a 4 inch cookie cutter.
from Gourmet Magazine, September, 2003