This recipe is so simple and so satisfying. Just make a béchamel, simmer the carrots, stir some of the cooking water into the béchamel, mix the carrots with the béchamel and bake until bubbly.
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon shallots, minced
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 cup milk
- salt and pepper as needed
- ½ cup gruyère cheese, cooled then grated
- 2 teaspoon chives, minced
- 2 teaspoon fresh marjoram leaves, minced
- 2 pound carrots, sliced crosswise into thin rounds
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ cup panko
Prepare the béchamel. Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the shallot, and cook, stirring, until softened, about three minutes. Stir in flour, and cook, stirring, for about three minutes until smooth and bubbling but not browned. Whisk in the milk all at once, and bring to a simmer, whisking continuously, until the mixture begins to thicken. Turn the heat to very low, and simmer, stirring often with a whisk and scraping the bottom and edges of the pan with a rubber spatula, for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened and lost its raw flour taste. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat set aside.
Prepare the topping. Melt the butter in a small saute pan set over medium heat. Add the panko breadcrumbs and stir to coat. Continue stirring occasionally until the breadcrumbs are light golden brown. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon marjoram.
Make the gratin. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Oil a 2‑quart gratin dish. Fill a medium saucepan with water, and bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and then the carrots. Reduce the heat to medium, and simmer the carrots for 4 minutes or so until just tender. Whisk ½ cup of the cooking water into the reserved béchamel, then drain the carrots. Transfer them to a large bowl. Stir in the remaining marjoram, chives, salt and pepper to taste, the béchamel and Gruyère. Scrape into the baking dish.
Place in the oven, and bake 20 to 30 minutes until the top is lightly browned and the gratin is bubbling. Remove from the heat, allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes and serve.