When confronted with multiple pounds of beets from my CSA, I tried to think of something to do that wasn’t a beet salad or a roasted-beet sandwich. I made some pickled beets, but I only needed so many of those. What to do with the rest? The answer lay in the other things I had on hand, which included a big chunk of Parmesan cheese and a couple of fennel bulbs (also from my CSA). I use fennel and Parmesan when I make potato gratin, so I thought, why not do a gratin with another root vegetable?
You’ll want to use a mandoline to slice the fennel bulbs and beets nice and thin (and with even thickness), but be really careful because the roasted beets can be pretty slippery. I suggest serving this with some simple steak or roast chicken, something hearty to go with the earthiness of the beets, but nothing too crazy, as the gratin is pretty rich.
- 1 1/2 pounds beets
- 1 cup fennel greens
- 1 cup sliced fennel bulb (2-4 mm thick)
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 green garlic (garlic scape), chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh chives, chopped
- butter for greasing the baking dish
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
For the gratin
Preheat oven at to 375° F.
Clean beets, and wrap each one in foil.
Roast for 60 minutes.
Unwrap foil, and let beets cool until cool enough to handle (30-60 minutes depending on size of beets and your heat tolerance).
Combine all your "herb mixture" ingredients and mix together.
Combine all the the "milk mixture" ingredients and whisk until the milk and eggs are well incorporated.
Slice beets thinly (2-4 mm), preferably on a mandoline.
Butter a 2-quart baking dish. Layer the gratin in this order from bottom up:
- Sliced fennel
- Herb mix
- Milk mix
- Fennel greens
- Repeat two more times (3 layers total)
Bake for 30 minutes, remove foil, and bake for 10-15 minutes more. Let stand briefly before serving.