The market was in full swing this past weekend. A warm, sunny Saturday morning brought out summer-like crowds. The first strawberries were available from Virginia’s Three Way Farms, where I also picked up asparagus, spring onions and white radishes. Maryland’s Toigo Orchards was back with hot house tomatoes and baby cukes, plus ever-popular apple and cranberry cider samples. (One of the few times we allow the toddler to have juice.) I got a bag of arugula from another Maryland farm, and wood ear mushrooms from the mushroom lady.
For our (local) Sunday dinner, I made a spring onion potato gratin to accompany our grilled NY strip steaks (first grilling of the season!), and roasted asparagus. Friends brought a Barboursville Cab Franc (2005 Reserve) that was excellent. Dessert was the strawberries, macerated in lemon thyme, lemon zest, a pinch of sugar and balsamic vinegar, alongside creamy cambozola cheese and Ficoco (fig and cocoa spread).
The gratin was adapted from an Epicurious recipe. It is a lighter version that doesn’t have the usual cream and cheese, but was still wonderfully creamy and rich. (It does have a lot of butter, so not entirely low fat by any stretch.)
Recipe: Spring Onion Potato Gratin
2.5 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 bunch spring onions, bulb and bottom inch of green stems, thinly sliced (tops of stems reserved for later use)
2 T fresh lemon thyme (or regular thyme)
10 T butter
2/3 c dry white wine
2/3 c water
Preheat oven to 400* and lightly oil a large shallow (13×9) baking dish. In saute pan, melt 6 T butter over medium heat. Add shallot, spring onions, thyme and a pinch of salt and cook until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; saute until onions are tender and begin to brown. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter, water and wine to skillet; bring to boil then remove from heat.
Toss potatoes with onion mixture and another pinch of salt, making sure potato slices are coated with liquid. Spread evenly in baking dish. Cover with parchment paper (press down on top of potatoes) and then foil. Bake 50 minutes, then remove foil and cook another 15-20 minutes, until top is golden.