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Monday, December 3, 2012

Potato, Crab, and Leek Gratin

The Somerville winter farmers market is now up and running at the Armory, and I went down this weekend to check it out. The selection is terrific, and, as I had arrived without a plan, wandered around and bought whatever looked good--in this case some crab, potatoes, leeks, and smoked Gouda. Ordinarily, this kind of aimless shopping is not such a good idea, but in this case I think my after-the fact winging it produced pretty good results. I had this as an entree tonight, but I think it would go especially well as a side at one of this season's numerous potlucks.

Potato, Crab, and Leek Gratin
~2 pounds cooked skin-on red or purple potatoes, sliced medium-thin
8 oz cooked crab meat
6 leeks, coarsely chopped.
1 medium yellow onion
1.5 cups red cabbage
 3 cloves garlic, minced
~2 tablespoons lime juice. 
 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated, or powdered ginger to taste

2.5 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 cups smoked Gouda, shredded.
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Pinch ground nutmeg and/or paprika
Pinch Mexican-style chili powder

Dash curry powder
Red wine vinegar
Rosemary (opt)

Old bay seasoning, to taste
Small dash of each of as many of the following as you have on hand:
Onion powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, allspice, chili powder.

Panko bread crumbs, toasted.
Fresh-ground black pepper

1. Toss potatoes in olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary.
2. Saute red cabbage until soft, season with salt, pepper and a splash of  red wine vinegar.  Set aside
3. Saute onions, garlic, and leeks until all are soft, onions are translucent, and  some leeks are slightly blackened. Reduce heat to medium-low and add crab meat. Stir to combine, season with old bay (or analogue), curry powder, ginger, and lime juice, and cook for 2-3 minutes to let flavors meld.
4. Preheat oven to 350. In a glass or enamel baking dish, cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of the potatoes, then half of the cabbage, then a layer of the crab mixture. Repeat until dish is full. Be sure to pack layers loosely, so that sauce can penetrate.
5. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk in flour a little at a time to make a roux. Let cook 1 minute until very slightly brown. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Allow to come to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and gradually stir in cheese, then add mustard, nutmeg, paprika, and chili powder. If it becomes too thick, add more milk.
6. Pour sauce into dish, and spread with spatula until even. Top with panko.
7. Cover pan with aluminum foil and cook for 15 minutes.  Uncover and either cook for 10-15 more minutes or place under broiler for 2-4 minutes or until browned. Serve immediately.
The gratin in progress.

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