BY ELIZABETH GAWTHROP RIELY
This is my parsnip twist on a modern adaptation of Pommes Dauphinoise, devised by the Reblochon cheese marketing board. It has become a modern classic in the Haute-Savoie, perfect for a blustery day in early spring. If you can’t find Reblochon, try another good melting cheese such as Fontina or Gruyère—and don’t tell the French about the parsnips either.
Makes about 6 servings.
1 pound parsnips, skins on
1 pound fairly small waxy potatoes, skins on
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, coarsely chopped
¼ pound good bacon, cut across in ½ inch slices
½ cup white wine
1 cup cream
Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
½ pound Reblochon cheese
Bring water to boil in a wide saucepan and drop the parsnips in; return to a boil and cook until they are barely done; remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Drop the potatoes in the same water and cook until they are not quite done; remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Drain the pot but don’t wash it.
When the parsnips and potatoes are cool enough to handle, slip off the skins. Depending on size, cut them into thick slices, half slices or cubes, as you wish. If the parsnip tops are very fat, quarter them and remove the woody core. Cut them into about the same size as the potatoes.
Smear half the butter over the inside of an 8-cup gratin dish (casserole); set aside. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Melt the rest of the butter in the pot with the onions and bacon. Sauté over medium heat until the onions and bacon color lightly. Remove them with a slotted spoon and reserve. Pour the white wine into the pot and cook to evaporate it by half. Add the cream and heat it to a bubble.
Spread half the parsnips and potatoes in the buttered gratin dish. Top with half the onion and bacon mixture. Repeat with the rest of the parsnips and potatoes, then the remaining onions and bacon. Pour the cream mixture evenly over the top. Grate the surface with a twist or two of pepper and salt (remember that the cheese is salty). Lay the Reblochon over the entire surface. Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese has melted and mingled into the cream and the surface is a rich golden brown, about 1 hour. Let it cool a bit before serving with white wine and a leafy green salad.