The other day, on a #stayinghome whim, I placed an order with Misfits Market – that newish online organic produce delivery service. The box we got was filled with a random selection, including carrots and rutabagas. I also had some potatoes I needed to use, a bunch of hazelnuts, and a craving for comfort food. Are you seeing where we’re headed here? Hazelnut Root Vegetable Gratin 🙌
Root vegetable gratins are full of silky layers of starchy veggies (any kind!), all surrounded by thick, aromatic cream (this one is heavily scented with lots of garlic, rosemary, and thyme) and finished off with a savory, crunchy topping (hazelnuts, breadcrumbs, and parmesan, ya’ll!)
My sister-in-law sent us a bunch of hazelnuts from her family’s farm and they’ve really been calling my name lately. They are sweet and buttery and you almost never see them in savory recipes but they’re a PERFECT match for cream and veggies. To get your hazelnuts ready for this moment, roast them, then remove their skins by rubbing the nuts around in a dish towel. Any skins that don’t come off… just leave on. A little skin never hurt anyone.
These still need to be chopped and mixed with some salty breadcrumbs and nutty parmesan cheese before gracing the top of your creamy gratin. Get a hold of yourself.
To achieve those perfectly cooked, silky layers of vegetables… ya gotta use a mandolin. Or have really decent knife skills. Mandolins do scare me but I push through the fear in favor of perfect food. Look at that precision:
If I can do it, so can you. Just be careful. And do it before the second glass of wine. The mandolin I use is part of my spiralizer, it works like a charm, you can get it here.
Next, we need some crazy luscious cream to pour down over top. This is a combo of heavy cream, chicken stock, smashed garlic, thyme, rosemary, nutmeg, salt and pepper, all simmered down to allow the aromatics to fully infuse.
Once assembled, the whole thing bakes for a bit, without the topping at first, then you can sprinkle the topping on and let it all crisp up for few minutes.
Gratin Beauty Superstar. Supreme crunch with creamy layers underneath. It gives me life.
*This post contains Amazon Affiliate links to the mandoline/spiralizer I use, from which I may earn income!Print
Hazelnut Root Vegetable Gratin
Comfort Food Heaven: tender slices of root vegetables, surrounded by a garlic and herb infused cream, finished off with a savory, crunchy hazelnut and parmesan breadcrumb topping!
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes plus 15 minutes for cooling
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner, Vegetarian
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: French
- 1/2 C hazelnuts, toasted, skins mostly removed (see notes), and chopped
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 1/2 C panko breadcrumbs
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 C grated parmesan
- Butter for the baking dish
- 4 lbs of root vegetables (I used 3 carrots, 2 small rutabagas, and 12 small white potatoes), sliced on a mandolin (see notes)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 C heavy cream
- 1/2 C chicken stock
- 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 3–4 sprigs of thyme
- 1 small sprig of rosemary
- A pinch of grated nutmeg
- Heat the 2 TBS of olive oil in a small skillet over medium high heat. Add the breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown – about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool.
- Once the breadcrumbs have cooled, add the toasted, chopped hazelnuts, and parmesan. Taste and season with another pinch of salt and pepper and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine heavy cream, stock, garlic, thyme, rosemary, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove thyme, rosemary, and garlic. You can leave some small bits of garlic in there if you like.
- Toss the sliced vegetables in a large bowl with plenty of salt and pepper. Butter an 8×8 square baking dish. Arrange the vegetables in the dish in layers. Pour the cream mixture over top. Lay a sheet of parchment paper over the top of the gratin and bake for 50 minutes, until you can easily pierce the vegetables all the way through with a fork.
- Remove the parchment paper and sprinkle the hazelnut topping over the whole thing. Return it to the oven and bake for 6-7 more minutes, just until the topping is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
To toast the hazelnuts and remove the skins: spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes – just until they smell nutty. Transfer them from the baking sheet to a clean kitchen towel, wrap them up, and let them “steam” in there for about 2 minutes. Then, keep the nuts wrapped in the towel and rub them against each other to remove most of the skins. A little skin left behind is fine.
Using a mandolin (or really good knife skills!) ensures the vegetables are all the same size and cook through evenly. 1/16” or whatever size blade you have is fine; as long as you check the vegetables’ doneness with a fork – it should pierce easily all the way through – before adding the breadcrumb topping, you’ll be fine. The mandolin I use is part of my spiralizer, it’s the most user-friendly one I’ve ever used. You can get it here.
Keywords: Vegetarian Meals, Savory Hazelnut Recipe
For more veggie-loaded comfort food, try this recipe for my Roasted Veggie Fried Rice with Sriracha Mayo 😀