Light Savory Scalloped Yams
1 medium leek, white part only, sliced thin
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 pounds yams (recipe calls for sweet potatoes - I used yams) peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
Fennel bulb (8 ounces) cored and sliced 1/8 inch thick
2 cups 2 percent milk
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons light cream cheese
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the leeks, oil, and salt in a large Dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until the leek is softened, about 5 minutes.
2.Stir in the garlic, thyme, crushed fennel seeds, and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the yams, sliced fennel bulb, milk and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the yams are almost tender, about 10 minutes.
3. Discard the bay leaves. Whisk the cornstarch and water together, then add to the pot and return to a simmer. Off the heat, stir in the cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, being careful not to break up the yams.
4. Transfer the mixture to an 8-inch-square baking dish. Gently press the yams into an even layer and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top. Bake until the mixture is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
To Make Ahead:
Once the yams have been transferred to the baking dish and pressed into an even layer in step 4, they can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, add the cheese, cover with foil, and bake in a 400-degree oven until the mixture is hot and bubbling, about 45 minutes. Remove the foil and cook until the cheese begins to brown, about 30 minutes longer. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Pairs Well With
America's Test Kitchen --
If you prefer savory to sweet with your yams, this is the recipe for you.