I just adore all the fresh local produce that we find in the shops at this time of year . . . lovely cabbages, red, white and savoy . . . beautiful carrots, and onions . . . potatoes, beetroot, parsnips, beans, cauliflower, leeks, etc. There is no end to it all . . . that makes me a very happy camper. I love to eat seasonally and everything tastes so very delicious when it's fresh and local.
I love to showcase these fabulous fresh ingredients in any way that I can and incorporate them into our meals on a regular basis. I have to confess that you cannot get a much nicer bake . . . than a vegetable gratin . . .
This one that I am sharing with you today is especially nice . . . using not only potatoes and onions . . . but cabbage and bacon as well . . . and not one . . . but TWO lovely cheeses.
First a nice freshly grated chunk of wonderful Parmesan cheese. True Parmigiano-Reggiano has a beautiful complex flavor that goes very nicely in dishes like this. It brings to the table a slightly nutty/fruity flavor along with a strong savory undertone . . . a wonderful addition.
Then there is an abundant amount of taleggio cheese, which is a washed rind and smear ripened Italian cheese with a strong aroma, but fruity mild taste. It's beautiful melting qualities are perfectly showcased in this lovely dish.
Let's not forget the back bacon . . . which lends a light smokey flavor, which is quite delightful when enjoyed along side of the cheeses and those tender vegetables.
Mind you . . . there's not much that can't be beautifully enhanced with the addition of bacon and cheese don't you think??? Nom Nom! A simple supper with complex and robust flavors. I like that very much.
*Cheesy Bacon, Potato & Cabbage Gratin*
Wholesome, hearty and delicious autumn fare. A novel way of using autumn produce that will please the whole family.
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
185g back bacon, diced (6.5 ounces)
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp chili flakes (or to taste)
675g of savoy cabbage, trimmed, quartered and cut into a chunky dice (1 1/2 pounds)
55g freshly grated Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
butter for buttering the pan
225g of taleggio cheese, diced (8 ounces)
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil. Add the potato and bring back to the boil. Cover and cook for exactly 5 minutes, or until just barely tender. Drain well and then place in a large bowl.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the bacon and fry until the bacon begins to color. Lower the heat and add the onions, garlic, thyme and chili flakes. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened.
Wash the cabbage pieces. Tip a third of it into the pan while it is still wet. Cook, stirring and adding more cabbage as it wilts in the pan, until you have added all of the cabbage and adding a bit of water as necessary to help keep the cabbage from sticking to the pan. Once the cabbage is completely wilted, remove the pan from the heat and dump this mixture into the bowl with the potatoes. Toss gently together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Tip in half of the Parmesan cheese.
Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Butter a 9 inch square glass baking dish, at least 2 inches deep.
Layer half of the cabbage and potato mixture into the pan. Dot with half of the taleggio cheese. Cover with the remaining cabbage and potato mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and dot with the remaining taleggio.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables are piping hot and the cheese is bubbling and flecked golden brown.
A little pickle on the side and some buttered bread and we were in heaven . . .