I’ve been on a new recipe kick lately which has led to some fabulous dinners (like Moroccan-spiced beef with couscous- see right) as well as some major dinner disasters. A few days ago I spent the better part of an afternoon assembling a Potato, Ham and Spinach gratin from Cooking Light. It sounded so tasty and the picture looked gorgeous, all nicely browned and crisp on top. It. Was. Horrible. The recipe said to let it bake for a total of an hour and 30 minutes. Well, at that point the potatoes were still starchy, hard and just plain yuck. I let it go for about another 30 minutes and they still weren’t great, but it was after 7 and we were hungry so my husband and I ate. My husband insisted it wasn’t bad but I did notice he doused it with his Don Julio hot sauce. I was so disappointed that I ate a bit and then just filled up on chocolate cake instead (always a good solution to a cooking disaster).
Not wanting to throw out all my hard work, I put the gratin leftovers into the fridge. The next evening there the gratin was, still staring at me. I knew I couldn’t face that casserole for another meal. If it wasn’t good fresh, it would be horrible heated in the microwave. Instead of just tossing it as I was tempted to do, I instead set forth to disassemble the entire thing and see what I could do.
The gratin was made in layers so was fairly easy to take apart. First I heated some olive oil in a large skillet. Then I began to pick the first layer of potatoes off and dropped them in the hot oil. I broke them into smaller pieces with a spatula and let them fry while I got down to the next layer, the spinach (and kale I had added) and ham. These I put into a separate smaller pan over medium heat where I let them just warm up a bit. The recipe had called for a milk and flour mixture to be poured over the casserole before baking, so the greens and ham were nice and creamy. The bottom layer was more potatoes which I added in with the ones already frying, and I let the potatoes sautee for about 20 minutes.
Once the greens and ham were well-heated I poured three lightly beaten eggs over the top and scrambled everything together. I served the final product of sauteed potatoes with rosemary plus greens, ham and eggs along with sides of organic applesauce and glasses of pinot noir wine. My husband and I both agreed the recycled dinner was a fabulous comfort-food meal. Almost as good as chocolate cake.