Potatoes, Mushrooms and Globe Artichokes

January 12, 2009

Hello everyone and a very happy 2009 to you,
If you’ve started a detox look away now. This week’s recipe is a gratin with the Mushrooms and Potatoes in your bag cooked with Gruyere cheese and Cream (just in case you didn’t do quite enough damage over the Christmas).To add extra depth to the Mushrooms I add some Porcini (dried Cepes) then use the liquid I hydrate them with in the gratin. If you can’t get your hands on Porcini (they’re generally to be found in good delis) don’t worry the dish works fine without them.
The detox starts next week(!!!)
Potato Gratin with Gruyere and Mushrooms
You’ll need:
10gr Porcini Mushrooms
175gr Mushrooms (about what you have in your bag this week)
Olive Oil
800gr Potatoes
120gr Gruyere (Parmesan also works well and Cheddar will do at a pinch)
200ml Single Cream

To begin with take the Porcini Mushrooms and leave them soaking in 120ml hot water then get on with preparing the rest of the ingredients. Wipe and slice the Mushrooms. Heat a dash of Olive Oil in a  pan and thrown on the Mushrooms and sauté until golden brown then set aside.
While the Mushrooms are cooking, peel and slice (about the thickness of a Euro coin or slightly less if possible) the Potatoes. Grate the Cheese and set aside. Strain and finely chop the Porcini then mix the soaking liquid with the Cream. Season this liquid with Salt and Pepper (you can add a little more Salt than normal as cream tends to sweeten things a lot especially when cooked down).

To put the dish together, in a square ovenproof dish about  24 cm x 24 cm place a layer of Potatoes. Scatter about a  third of your mushrooms and cheese on top and continue layering like this finishing with a layer of Potatoes. Pour the liquid over the Potatoes and Mushrooms and finally grate a little more cheese on top of everything. Cover with tin foil and bake for about 45 minutes at 180 degrees then uncover and bake for a further 15 or until golden brown.

Try this with a simple Lamb’s Lettuce and Walnut salad for the perfect lunch or add a dish of roasted root veg (the Carrots in this week’s bag would be perfect)to make a more substantial meal.
Our Mediteranean selections all have Artichokes this week and if you haven’t had them before you’re in for a treat. I tend to serve them as simply as possible to show off their great flavour. Last night I made Carciofi Fritti (Fried Artichokes) to pick on while we waited for dinner to cook and they went down a storm especially with 4 year old Dan who was appalled we were going to eat such a strange looking variety………. 
Carciofi Fritti 
First of all prepare the Artichokes by peeling off the tough outer leaves then cutting off the top half of each Artichoke (ie the tougher/pointy part). Finally, pare back the any more tough bits until you reach the heart. It’s a lot of cutting back I know and what you’re left with seems so paltry but it is worth it I promise! Discard the fluffy stuff you find there then slice the Artichoke heart into pieces about 1/2 cm thick. Place the slices in a bowl of water then add the juice of half a Lemon and a generous pinch of Salt. Leave the Artichokes to sit for about 15 minutes then drain and pat dry.
Heat about an inch of Oil in a pan and prepare the Artichoke slices for frying by dipping them in Flour then beaten Egg (you’ll need 1 large Egg) then breadcrumbs. Add the Artichokes to the oil when it’s hot but not smoking otherwise the Artichokes will burn on the outside before they’re done inside. When golden brown, remove from the pan to some Kitchen Paper then sprinkle with Salt, Black Pepper and a squeeze of Lemon Juice. Serve immediately!!!!
Hope you enjoy these recipes,
Have a great week,

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