Serve this hearty gratin with grilled bluefish or roast chicken. Sit outside. Sip something cool. Tell stories. Have seconds.

Serves 4 to 5

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for rubbing dish 
  • 12 ounces (3/4 pound) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into medium dice (about 2 ½ cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 3 to 4 ears)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth or water
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • Freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rub a 5- or 6-cup shallow gratin dish (or a 9 ½-inch-diameter pie plate) with a little butter.

2. Put the potatoes and 2 teaspoons salt in a large saucepan and cover them generously with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until just shy of completely tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well.

3. In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, ½ teaspoon of the thyme, and a pinch of salt. Mix well.

4. In a medium nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until softened and just starting to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir well to incorporate it. Add the corn kernels, ¼ teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Cook, stirring, until the corn has lost its raw  look, is glistening, and is slightly shrunken, 2 to 3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let the mixture cool for a couple of minutes.

5. Combine the heavy cream and the chicken broth or water in a liquid measure. Add the lemon zest, the remaining thyme, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Stir to mix well.

6. Combine the potatoes and the corn mixture and transfer to gratin dish, arranging as evenly as possible. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the vegetables, and pour the cream mixture over everything, distributing the herbs and lemon as well as possible. (You can stir them gently in the pan to distribute better.) Be sure to scrape out any seasonings left in the liquid measure. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over all.

7. Bake until the crumb topping is deep golden and the juices should have bubbled below the surface of the vegetables, leaving browned bits in a line around the edge of the pan, 35 to 45 minutes.