Now that we're all battening down the hatches to wait out winter in our kitchens, it seems like a good time to consider the gratin. It's cold outside; the shops are filled with reasonably-priced root vegetables; and we can still kinda-sorta justify calorie-dense dishes that help us maintain our winter weights.
Gratins are not something I knock out much in the kitchen, so I've had a look in my Larousse to get a starting point:
The golden crust that forms on the surface of the dish when it is browned in the oven or put under the grill (broiler). Usually the top of the dish has been coated with grated cheese, breadcrumbs or egg and breadcrumbs...The term has been extended to denote a method of cooking fish, meat, vegetables, pasta dishes and even sweets.
Gratins have been discussed before, but we've never done a cook-off to properly get under the "skin" of this dish, if you will. RecipeGullet is full of recipes from our members: Fifi gave us Fifi's Favourite Eggplant Gratin; jackal10 contributed quick potato gratin a la dauphinois; Dave the Cook saw his quick potato gratin and raised it to a Really Simple potato gratin; and even Russ Parson's weighed in with his mushroom and spaghetti squash gratin.
Shalmanese has asked about non-soupy cauliflower gratins; Chris Hennes has yearned to know why his gratin broke. Kim Shook just plain feels she's gratin-challenged.
There's lots for us to discuss with regards to gratin: meat or vegetables? What kind of cheese? How about breadcrumbs? Do you use cream?
Do you have a special gratin dish, or do you just use a casserole?
Let's get layering. Allez gratin!