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Authentic Fare from `Bistro Cooking'

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MADAME LARACINE'S POTATO GRATIN 3 pounds baking potatoes, such as russets, peeled and thinly sliced 2 cups whole milk 3 garlic cloves, minced 3/4 teaspoon salt 3 imported bay leaves Freshly ground nutmeg Freshly ground black pepper 1 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream 2 cups freshly grated imported French or Swiss Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In large saucepan, cover potatoes with milk and 2 cups water. Add garlic, salt, and bay leaves. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally so potatoes do not stick to bottom of pan. Reduce heat to medium and cook about 10 minutes until tender but not falling apart.

With a slotted spoon, transfer half the potatoes to a 14 x 9 x 2-inch gratin dish. Sprinkle with the nutmeg, pepper, half the cr`eme fra^iche, and half the cheese. Cover with remaining potatoes, and sprinkle again with nutmeg, pepper, cr`eme fra^iche, and cheese.

Bake until crisp and golden on top, about 1 hour. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

CHEZ LA VIELLE'S SMOKED HADDOCK WITH SAVOY CABBAGE 2 pounds smoked haddock fillets 4 cups milk 1 Savoy cabbage Salt 12 tablespoons unsalted butter 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice Freshly ground black pepper 3 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley

Cover fillets with 2 cups water and 2 cups of the milk in a shallow skillet. Soak 1 hour. Trim cabbage. Quarter it, and remove thick center rib. Cut each quarter in half. Add cabbage to large pot of boiling, salted water. When water returns to boiling, cook 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring another pot of salted water to boil. Drain cabbage, and boil again for 10 minutes more. Drain well. Set aside and keep warm.

Drain haddock, discard liquid, and return fish to skillet. Cover with remaining milk. If necessary, add water to cover. Bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer gently 10 minutes. Do not boil.

Melt 6 tablespoons butter in large, shallow saucepan over medium heat. Add cabbage and cook gently, stirring just to coat with butter. Remove to warm platter.

Carefully drain haddock fillets; remove skin. Place fish on top of cabbage. Keep warm.

In small saucepan heat remaining 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat until pale brown. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the haddock; sprinkle on parsley and serve immediately. Serves 6.

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