A turnip gratin can be a rich, creamy affair, but this lighter version made with low-fat milk is equally delicious and comforting. When you use low-fat milk for a gratin, you will find quite a bit of liquid in the pan when you pull the dish from the oven. Let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes and the turnips will reabsorb the moisture. If any liquid remains in the dish, it’s delicious spooned over the gratin.
Butter or olive oil for the baking dish
1 garlic clove, cut in half
2 pounds turnips, preferably small ones, peeled and sliced in thin rounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (about 1 cup tightly packed)
2 1/2 cups low-fat milk (1 percent or 2 percent)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter or oil a 2-quart baking dish or gratin dish. Rub the sides and bottom with the cut clove of garlic.
2. Place the sliced turnips in a bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Add half the cheese and the thyme and toss together, then transfer to the gratin dish and pour on the milk. It should just cover the turnips.
3. Place in the oven and bake 30 minutes. Push the turnips down into the milk with the back of a large spoon. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and return to the oven. Bake another 40 to 50 minutes, until all of the milk is absorbed, the turnips are soft and the dish is nicely browned on top and around the edges.
Yield: 4 servings.
Advance preparation: You can assemble this several hours before baking, but don’t add the milk until you’re ready to bake. You can bake it several hours ahead and reheat in a medium oven.