(First, I would like to thank everyone who said such nice things on my last post. We are thrilled to report that Andy’s biopsy was negative. What a relief!)
I am addicted to cookware. Actually, I am addicted to any and all types of kitchenware. I don’t discriminate. If my kitchen were ten times bigger, I would have no problem filling up all the cabinets and shelves with knives, pots, pans, dishes and serving pieces.
Going to Sur La Table just to browse makes me happy. I always find myself lingering in front of the Le Creuset display, imagining a kitchen full of these colorful pieces. I already have many pieces from their enameled cast iron line, and they are among my favorites to cook with.
So when CSN Stores asked me to do a review of any product from any of their sites, I jumped at the chance. When I saw that they offer Le Creuset, I knew immediately that I wanted to try a piece from the stoneware collection. After browsing a bit, I selected the 10 1/2 x 7 inch rectangular stoneware baking dish, which happened to come with a bonus 7 x 5 inch baking dish. Score!
For my first test, I wanted to make something that would be really baked on, hard to take out of the dish, hard to clean up after. A cheesy baked gratin seemed like a good choice.
Tomato-Goat Cheese Gratin
24 slices campari tomato (about 1/4” thick)
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 leek, chopped (about 1/2” cup)
3 ounces goat cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoon panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons grated parmesan cheese, divided use
Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a pan and add the fennel and leeks. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until soft. Remove from heat and reserve.
In a small bowl, mix together goat cheese, cream and egg until smooth.
In another small bowl, combine panko and 1 1/2 tablespoons parmesan cheese.
Using a 7 x 5 inch baking dish, spread 1/3 of the fennel and leek mixture on the bottom of the dish. Lay 8 tomato slices on top, then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon parmesan cheese. Pour 1/3 of the goat cheese mixture on top. Repeat twice more. Sprinkle the panko mixture over the top and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, until puffed and brown on top. Let cool slightly before cutting. (It will deflate while cooling.)
This gratin is pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. I’m generally my harshest critic, but I had to do a little happy dance with this one. It’s light and fluffy, but not eggy…there is still a creaminess to it. The tang of the goat cheese is well balanced by the sweetness of the cooked tomatoes, fennel and leeks. And best of all, the top and sides get browned and slightly crunchy.
What I like most about my new Le Creuset dishes is their size. I often find that my other standard size baking dishes are just too big when cooking for two. I don’t always want a huge pan of lasagna or enchiladas that will last three weeks. By using the 10 1/2 x 7 dish, we have one meal’s worth with leftovers for the next night, which is plenty for us. Even the smaller 7 x 5 dish is the perfect size for one meal.
My next favorite feature: Ease of use and cleanup. The stoneware is almost non-stick. If something does stick, it wipes clean easily. No scrubbing is required with these. And even that first piece of gratin came out of the dish with no problem.
What can I say? I love these dishes. I love using them; I love the size; I love the color. I foresee many more pieces from the stoneware collection joining my kitchen soon.
Disclaimer: Although CSN Stores provided the product reviewed here, the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by CSN Stores or Le Creuset.