What makes these potatoes so special? Caramelized onions and fennel and Gruyere cheese lay between thin slices of Yukon Gold potatoes. You're going to need 45 minutes to caramelize the onions and fennel, but it's well worth it.....and you can do that step well ahead of time.
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 1 small fennel bulb
- 4 large Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
- 1 cup half and half or light cream
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp coarse pepper
- Cut onion in half and then slice each half into thin strips.
- Cut leafy part of fennel away from bulb. Cut bottom off of bulb. Cut bulb in half and slice each half in thin slices. The cut onions and fennel should measure a good 4 cups when mixed together. While caramelizing they will cook down to about 1 cup of caramelized onions and fennel.
- Place butter and oil in a heavy bottom fry pan. Heat over medium heat until butter has melted.
- Add cut up mixture of onions and fennel.
- Stir until they become coated well in the butter and oil and begin to sizzle. Turn temperature down and allow them to cook down and caramelize, stirring every 10 minutes for 45 minutes. The mixture will brown, but not become crispy or burnt. If you find they are getting too dark turn down the heat. Little bits of brown will form on the bottom of the pan, stir them in as they add lots of flavour. After 45 minutes they will have cooked down to approximately 1 cup of soft caramelized onions and fennel.
- While this mixture is caramelizing boil a big pot of water.
- Peel potatoes. Using a mandolin or sharp knife cut potatoes into 1/8" thick slices.
- Once water is boiling add sliced potatoes and boil for approximately 5 minutes or until they just start to soften. They should still be a bit crisp. This step helps to speed up the baking time.
- Drain potatoes in colander.
- Grate cheese.
- Heat cream and stir in salt and pepper.
- Grease a flan pan or low round casserole dish.
- Add a layer of potatoes, then some of the caramelized onions and fennel, cheese, potatoes, onions and fennel, cheese, making 3 layers ending with cheese.
- Pour hot cream with seasoning over everything.
- Bake in 350º oven for 35-40 minutes. If you find it's getting too dark but potatoes are still not soft, lightly cover with foil and continue to bake, checking every 5 minutes.