Carrot and Sharp Cheddar Gratin

From Fine Cooking, December 2012/January 2013

1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter; more at room temperature for the dish
1-1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2-in. dice (about 1-1/2 cups)
Kosher salt
1 cup plain panko
2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
3 lb. large carrots (about 12), peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons
4 oz. coarsely grated sharp Cheddar (1 cup)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×13-in. (or similar) baking dish. In a 12-in. skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spatula, until golden-brown, 7 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter and pour into a medium bowl. Add the panko, parsley, and thyme and toss well.

Whisk the heavy cream, mustard, 1-1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4  tsp. pepper into the onion, scraping up any browned bits, and then stir in the carrots. Bring just to a boil, cover, lower the heat to medium low, and simmer until the carrots are crisp-tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Spread the carrot mixture evenly in the prepared dish. Scatter the Cheddar over the carrots, top with the panko mixture, and bake until the carrots are tender when pierced with a fork and the crumbs are golden-brown, 30 to 40 minutes.

Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

 

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