Whole Foods Markets all over the world are holding their quarterly Cheese Nights events on September 16 (6pm-7:30pm, local time, at every Whole Foods location; find yours here), so I thought I’d head on over to my local Whole Foods to see what they were preparing. This Cheese Night’s theme is grilled cheese, which includes sandwiches, but also anything related to melting cheese dishes.
Each shop gets to do Cheese Nights their own way, so my neighborhood Whole Foods is preparing Reading Raclette the traditional way, melting the surface of a half wheel and scraping the gooey deliciousness onto bread or crackers. They’re also prepping a grilled cheese stuffed with German Bier Käse (beer-washed cheese), sauerkraut, and meats from their fresh deli case. As if that wasn’t enough, they’re making potato gratin made with Le Maréchal, a wonderful Swiss Alpine style cheese rubbed with Herbes de Provence along the rind (Think of Gruyère’s herbaceous cousin!). I decided to try the gratin recipe at home.
It turned out tasty indeed! The mushrooms added some great dimension. Why haven’t M. Cheesemonger and I haven’t used them like this before? The cheese choice was savory and comforting. The sauce texture was a tad thin for me, hence the thought that the next attempt will be with all heavy cream.
Anyway, if you’re in the mood for a melty, cheesy happy hour this coming Tuesday (the 16th), Whole Foods has got you covered. You can find your local store here. Afterward, let me know how your shop celebrated grilled cheese night! You can always reach me by email at vero [at] misscheesemonger [dot] com, or on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest!
Happy Cheese Hunting!
Here’s the recipe:
Pancetta & Porcini Potato Gratin
Serving size: 4-8
Prep time: 15 minutes (although, because I’m slow, it takes me more like 25)
Cook time: 1.5 hours
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
½ cup boiling water
1 tablespoon oil
6 oz. pancetta, diced
1 onion, sliced (I chopped mine)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
1 cup cream
½ cup milk (although, next time I do this, I might just go for 2 cups of heavy cream, no milk.)
1 pinch nutmeg
1 lbs. potatoes, sliced thin (I changed this and used fingerling potatoes, cut into big dice)
2 cups Le Maréchal cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Soak dried porcini mushrooms in water for 20 minutes. Remove mushrooms from water, reserving the water, squeeze the excess water from them and coarsely chop. Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté until it starts to turn golden brown. Add onion, and sauté until tender. Add the mushrooms, garlic, thyme, salt/pepper, and sauté for a minute, then remove from heat. Bring the cream, milk, reserved mushroom water, and nutmeg to a simmer for about 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Pour a little cream on the bottom of an 8x8x2 inch baking pan (I brought out my trusty sunshine yellow Le Creuset oval baking dish
for this), and layer half of the sliced potatoes on top, followed by half of the pancetta and mushroom mixture and cheese. Then layer the remaining potatoes, cream, and pancetta mushroom mixture with cheese and cover in foil. Bake until fork tender, about 45-60 minutes (it took me closer to 60 minutes). The gratin may sit at room temperature for up to 2 hours before continuing. Remove the foil and continue to cook until golden brown on top, about 15 minutes.