Gratin of Fennel, Leeks and Potatoes
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
4 leeks, white and 2" of green, 1/4" slices, washed, dried
3 bulbs fennel, trimmed, 1/4" slices
4 medium red potatoes, peeled, 1/4" slices
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
Heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the leeks and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until soft and light golden, 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add fennel and boil until the fennel is tender, 5 minutes. Drain.
Bring another large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook the potatoes until crisp yet tender, 8 minutes. Drain.
Butter a 13 X 9" baking dish with remaining 2 teaspoons butter.
Preheat an oven to 375°F. Place a row of fennel along the short end of the baking dish. Layer a single row of leeks on the fennel, overlapping slightly. Layer a single row of potatoes on top of the leeks, overlapping slightly. This should look like roof tiles. Continue to overlap the fennel, leeks and potatoes, filling the baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the cream and milk and pour over the vegetables, up to the top level of the vegetables. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake on the top shelf of the oven until most of the cream is absorbed and it is golden on top, 25 to 35 minutes.