Smoked Salmon Sweet Potato Au Gratin
a fantastic side to any gathering or decadent as a main dish for 6-8 people, with a salad for balance
4.5 quart baking dish
2 cups wild Alaskan smoked or kippered salmon, flaked
3 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8 thick slices
3-4 tablespoons butter, for buttering pan and creating the gratin sauce
1/2 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups Comte cheese, shredded
2 1/2 cup heavy cream
3 Tablespoons fresh sage, chopped small
6 large cloves of garlic, finely shredded
4 eggs, lightly whisked
2 teaspoons Bay seasoning – I love this Summit Spice and Tea blend
a few pinches of flaked sea salt
fresh crack pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit with the top rack positioned in the middle of the oven. Generously butter the bottom and sides of the baking dish and sprinkle the cheddar cheese evenly across the bottom.
In a medium size saucepan combine 2 tablespoons of butter, the heavy cream, garlic, sage, 1/2 teaspoon Bay seasoning, and a pinch of sea salt. Bring cream sauce to a simmer whisking often. Continue to simmer cream sauce for 10 minutes allowing the sauce to reduce in volume by roughly 1/5. Allow sauce to cool for 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile in a small bowl gently whisk the eggs to break up the yolk, then rapidly whisk the eggs into the slightly cooled cream sauce and set aside.
In the buttered and cheese laden baking side layer 2-3 layers of sliced sweet potatoes working in a spiral pattern slightly overlapping the edges as you go, until the pan is 1/3 filled. Sprinkle the potatoes with 1/2 teaspoon Bay seasoning, fresh cracked pepper, and a slight pinch of sea salt, then top with 1/3 of the flaked smoked salmon and 1/2 cup of the shredded Comte cheese. Pour 1/3 of the cream sauce evenly over top.
Work to fill the pan 2/3 full with spiraling potato slices, seasoning again with 1/2 teaspoons Bay seasoning, fresh cracked pepper and a slight pinch of sea salt. Top with 3/4 cup of the shredded Comte cheese and an additional 1/3 of the flaked smoked salmon, pour over another 1/3 of the cream sauce and proceed filling the remainder of the pan with spiraled potato slices stopping approximately 1/4 inch from the rim.
Top potatoes with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon Bay seasoning, fresh cracked pepper, another slight pinch of sea salt, the final third of the smoked salmon and the remaining cream sauce. Holding aside the remaining 3/4 cup of shredded Comte cheese.
Compress the gratin by pushing down across the top and cover the pan with either a tight fitting lid or a buttered sheet of tinfoil. Place into the oven and bake for 40 minutes, remove lid or foil checking to ensure the potatoes are tender, then top with remaining 3/4 cup of Comte cheese and return to the oven uncovered to bake and brown for an additional 25 minutes. Pan contents will be bubbling hot when removed from oven, allow to cool slightly before serving.