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Monday, May 16, 2011

Potato Gratin with Basil Blossoms

Okay, so this post is just to share with you this amazing potato gratin I made last night. It's heaven. I really wanted to change things up on a traditional potato gratin recipe and thought about lavender blossoms but don't have any to harvest right now and thought, Aha! I have basil blossoms from the African Basil plants on my deck and they're beautiful and purple and delicious - surely they'll work...
and they did...mmmmm!

Basil blossoms have the most delicate suggestion of basil - not as strong as the leaves, but hints of the vibrant flavor and aroma. I've used basil blossoms in my summer salads, sprinkled with salt and pepper over fresh cut tomatoes, and when making chicken or vegetable stock. It's best to trim back the blossoms to encourage more leafy growth and extend the life of your basil plants. When trimming back the blossoms, think of using them in floral arrangements. I love adding basil to floral arrangements and when there are too many for that I simply add them to meals - it not only adds a touch of whimsy - it adds delicious delicate flavor. Never overpowering, basil blossoms can be added to so many dishes.

Try this one tonight!

Potato Gratin with Basil Blossoms:

- 4 to 5 medium sized organic potatoes (peeled and thinly sliced)
- 1 cup of your favorite cheese, grated (I used Fontina)
- 4 to 5 basil blossom stalks (strip the blossoms by running your fingers in the opposite direction of the blossom growth)
- 1 cup milk or heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon butter

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a casserole dish, spread the butter on the bottom and sides of the dish.
Begin layering sliced potatoes on the bottom of the dish - slightly overlapping each slice. With each layer - sprinkle with a little salt, a little pepper and a sprinkling of basil blossoms. Continue to layer and with every third layer sprinkle a portion of the shredded cheese. Once all layered, use the remaining cheese to cover the top of the casserole. Pour 1 cup of milk or heavy cream over the casserole.
Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes (or until sliced potatoes are soft and nicely brown on the top).
Let cool for about 10 minutes and dig in! Sprinkle fresh blossoms for an added special touch. Enjoy!

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