Contributed by: Mollie Katzen of The Vegetable Dishes I Can*t Live Without
It's nice to slip in some turnips among the more familiar potatoes and carrots, for something slightly different.
Good bread crumbs are made by hand from good bread. My favorites for this recipe are either a home-style whole wheat or pumpernickel. Make your own bread crumbs by drying out some of your favorite bread, then crumbling it either by hand (in a plastic bag, so it won't go all over the place) or in a food processor with the steel blade (a few spurts).
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, adding the garlic and thyme when it is melted.
Whisk in the flour and keep whisking for a minute or so as it forms a thick paste.
Keep whisking as you drizzle in the warmed milk, keeping the mixture moving until there are no lumps.
Add the bay leaf and turn the heat way down. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 to 8 minutes, or until smooth and silky. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaf. Stir in a dash of salt and a few shakes of white pepper, then set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly spray a 2-quart gratin dish with nonstick spray.
Cut the potatoes, turnips, and carrots into very thin slices (about 1/8 inch). For the carrots, do this on the diagonal. Spread the cut vegetables (including the shallots) together in the prepared pan to make a single mixed layer. Sprinkle lightly with salt and black pepper.
Pour the béchamel sauce from step 4 over the top of the vegetables and cover the pan tightly with foil. Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour, or until the vegetables are fork-tender. Remove the dish from the oven and remove the foil.
Heat the broiler. Sprinkle the bread crumbs and then the grated cheese on top of the vegetables. Broil until the cheese is melted and beginning to form a crust. Serve hot.
Excerpted from The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without by Mollie Katzen. Copyright (c) 2007 Tante Malka Inc.. All rights reserved. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold
Serving Size: Makes 4 - 5 Servings
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