Who doesn't love a creamy, cheesy potato gratin...all gooey and rich and comfortingly familiar? Unless, of course, you zip it up a little...add a little heat - just gentle heat...nothing over the top and make that old standby potato casserole into something new and interesting and fun?! Why not use Pepperjack instead of Swiss or cheddar? Oooo...and poblano peppers?! And some salsa verde?!
Mmmmhmmm...that's exactly what I did for Easter dinner on Sunday. Yep, we had ham and asparagus - my husband doesn't consider it Easter without both of those...but I just couldn't do the completely traditional dinner. You know me, I had to jazz up the meal somehow. And you know what? This new gratin just might have a chance of becoming a brand new tradition around here!
Poblano Potato Gratin
- 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 LARGE (or a couple smaller) poblano pepper - the one I used was about 6" long and HUGE - roasted and skinned, sliced across
- 1/2 large onion, finely diced
- 1/2 pound pepperjack cheese, grated
- 1/2-2/3 c. half and half
- Jane's Crazy salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 c. salsa verde, store bought
Preheat the oven to 400.
Butter a 1 1/2 quart shallow baking dish - you know, the kind you make your regular gratineed potatoes in. Slice half the potatoes directly into the dish, spreading evenly and pressing down to compact them.
Layer all the onion and then all but a few slices of the poblano on top of the potatoes - save a few slices to decorate the top when you're done. Sprinkle the Jane's Crazy salt and black pepper over the poblanos. Scatter 3/4 of the cheese over the top and spoon the salsa over that.
Finish with the rest of the potatoes on the top of the poblanos and press down and compact everything again. Season with Jane's Crazy salt and pepper again and finish off with a little more cheese and a little more of the salsa.
Lay the strips of poblano you saved decoratively over the top and gently pour the half and half over all.
Cover the dish loosely with foil and bake for about an hour or until the potatoes are tender and the top is browned and bubbly.
NOTE: To char the pepper(s), lay them directly on the burner of the stove and char them on all sides, turning to be sure they are blackened all over. Pop them into a bowl with a tight fitting lid or one that you can tightly cover with plastic wrap. Let them sit until the peppers are cool. Scrape the charred skins off the tender flesh and proceed with the recipe.
Oh...and don't let anyone say you can't do this on an electric burner...I do! Works just fine.
NOTE 2: If you haven't tried Jane's Crazy salt, it is a staple in my house! Look for it in the spice section along with other seasoning salts...but don't bother with the other ones....Crazy salt is the best!
Hell, even Paula Deen used to use it before she started marketing her own brand!