Turnip Gratin

If you like Potatoes Au Gratin, you’ll like this version with turnips. In fact, I think I like this one better.

Turnip Gratin


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 bundle thyme
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 stick butter, plus extra for baking dish
  • 2 lbs. turnips, peeled and sliced very thin (mandoline works best)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated parmigiano


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. Put the cream, garlic, thyme and cayenne in a saucepan and season it with salt. Taste to make sure it is adequately seasoned. Bring the cream to a boil and then turn off the heat. Let the mixture steep for 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Butter the baking dish and layer in 1/3 of the sliced turnips. Sprinkle 1/3 of the grated cheese over the turnips and dot with 1/3 of the butter. Remove the thyme and garlic from the cream and pour 1/3 of the cream over the turnips. Repeat this process 2 more times until all of the ingredients are used up.

  4. Cover the dish with foil, place on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes, until golden. When done a fork should slide in and out of the center of the dish easily.

  5. For easier serving, let the dish rest 10 to 12 minutes before serving.

Pommes Puree

There are lots of ways to make mashed potatoes. This is my favorite.

Pommes Puree from Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook


  • 6 Idaho potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. COOK THE POTATOES: Place the potatoes in the large pot and add enough cold water to completely cover them. Add the 1 tablespoon/14 g of salt and bring to a boil. Let the potatoes cook in the boiling water for about 15 minutes, or until they are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife.

  2. Drain the potatoes, discarding the hot water, and when they are cool enough to handle – but still hot – slip them from their skins. This might take some effort, and unless you’re a magician, there will probably remain a few tiny bits of skin. Not a big deal. Just discard the skins as best you can and move on.

  3. MAKE THE PUREE: In the small pot, combine the heavy cream and butter and bring the mixture to a boil. (it boils over quickly, so keep an eye on it.)

  4. In the meantime, return the potatoes to the large pot and mash them with the potato masher. Once the cream mixture has come to a boil, pour it in increments into the potatoes and mix well. Add cream. Mash. Add cream. Mix. Do not overwork the potatoes. When the mixture is creamy and smooth, season with salt and pepper and serve.


There are a lot of chefs in this country who are getting a lot of mileage from “Truffle Mashed Potatoes.” Now, fresh truffles are very expensive, and I doubt you’ll want to use them for something as simple as mashed potatoes. But don’t worry. Most of these chefs aren’t using fresh stuff either. Simply make the recipe above, drop a teaspoon of the relatively inexpensive canned “black truffle peelings” into the mix, then jack it with a few drops of white truffle oil.

Chive mashed potatoes? Sure! Simply drop a bunch of chives into boiling water for about 30 seconds. Immediately cool in ice water to retain the bright green color. Chop roughly, then puree in a blender with a little oil to moisten. Push through a fine strainer, then fold the result into your potatoes, along with some fresh chopped chives.

Roasted pepper mashed potatoes? Roast red peppers. Peel off the skins. Remove seeds and stem. Puree. Mix with spuds.

Filets De Poisson Bercy Aux Champignons

For our monthly Advanced Wine Class, I made this fish dish from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I thought it would go well with the wine theme, which was Wines of Champagne. Just a warning. This dish is rich. On the other hand, if you are someone who doesn’t really like fish, this dish is good choice. The earthy flavors of the mushroom and the creaminess of the sauce make the fish almost secondary.

Filets De Poisson Bercy Aux Champignons


  • 3/4 lb. or 3-1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 2-1/2 lbs. filets of sole or flounder
  • 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups cold, white wine fish stock made from heads, bones, and trimmings
  • OR 1/4 cup dry white wine or 2/3 cup dry white vermouth plus 1/4 cup bottled clam juice, and water
  • OR 1-1/2 cups wine and water mixed
  • Buttered brown paper or waxed paper (do not use aluminum foil-it will discolor the wine)
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons flour blended to a paste with 3 Tb softened butter
  • 3/4 to 1 cup whipping cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter cut into bits


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  2. In an enameled skillet, toss the mushrooms in hot butter over moderately high heat for a minute or two without browning. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

  3. Season the filets lightly with salt and pepper and arrange them in one slightly overlapping layer in the dish. If filets are thin, they may be folded in half so they make triangles. Spread the mushrooms over them.

  4. Pour in the cold liquid and enough water so fish is barely covered. Bring almost to the simmer on top of the stove. Lay the buttered paper over the fish. Then place dish in bottom third of preheated oven. Maintain liquid almost at the simmer for 8 to 12 minutes depending on the thickness of the filets. The fish is done when a fork pierces the flesh easily. Do not overcook; the fish should not be dry and flaky. Place a cover over the dish and drain out all the cooking liquid into an enameled saucepan.

  5. Preheat broiler.

  6. Rapidly boil down the poaching liquid until it has reduced to 1 cup.

  7. Off heat, beat the flour and butter paste into the hot liquid, then 1/2 cup of the cream. Bring to the boil. Thin out the sauce with additional tablespoons of cream until it coats the spoon nicely. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and drops of lemon juice.

  8. Spoon the sauce over the fish. Sprinkle on the cheese, and dot with butter. Place dish 6 to 7 inches from a hot broiler for 2 to 3 minutes to reheat fish and brown top of sauce lightly. Serve as soon as possible.

  9. (*) Dish may be prepared ahead and reheated as follows: After sprinkling on the cheese and butter, set aside. Before serving, reheat just to the simmer on top of the stove, then run for a minute or two under a hot broiler to brown the top of the sauce.