September 22, 2013
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In our house, when I was a child, baked ham was not reserved for Easter (the vaguely anti-Semitic overtones of that tradition did not occur to me until much later) but graced our Sunday dinner table every month or so. The accompaniments were invariable—scalloped potatoes and spinach—which are still my favorites. As much as I like scalloped potatoes though, it is hard to ignore the amount of cream and cheese it takes to make them right. Gratin Lyonnais is a lighter dish that nonetheless is a satisfying foil for ham.
Onion, 1, thinly sliced
Butter, as needed
Potatoes, 1 or 2, I prefer firm chef’s potatoes
Parsley, minced, about 15 ml (1 Tablespoon)
Salt and pepper
Cheese, cheddar or Swiss, shredded, about 125 ml (½ cup)
Breadcrumbs, about 125 ml (½ cup)
Sauté the onions in a bit of butter until soft but not colored. While they are cooking, scrub or peel the potatoes and slice them thinly—I use the 2mm blade in my food processor.
Butter the bottom and sides of a suitable baking dish. Layer half the potatoes on the bottom. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the sautéed onions over the potatoes and sprinkle on the parsley. Layer the remaining potatoes on top of the onions and season with salt and pepper.
In a food processor, combine the cheese, breadcrumbs, and a large pat of butter, pulsing a few times to get crumbles. Spread over the top of the potatoes.
Bake at 190°C (375°F) for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes are done. Or, you can put the gratin in oven with the ham at 165°C (325°F) for an hour and half or so.