Jerusalem Artichokes au Gratin

A tasty light lunch or dinner dish, Jerusalem Artichokes au Gratin may be served with peas and boiled new potatoes. A chilled dry white wine, such as Rudesheimer, would complement this dish well.

2 lb. Jerusalem artichokes, peeled, boiled, drained and sliced

2 thick slices lean cooked ham, coarsely diced

10 fl. oz. thick bechamel sauce

8 fl. oz. double cream

2 oz. Cheddar cheese, grated

2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 375 °F (Gas Mark 5, 190°C).

Arrange half of the sliced artichokes on the bottom of a medium-sized baking dish. Sprinkle over the ham and cover it with the remaining artichoke slices. Set the dish aside.

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the bechamel sauce, cream, Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses, the salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Set the pan over moderate heat and cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until the cheese has melted and the sauce is thick and smooth.

Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the sauce evenly over the artichokes to cover them completely. Dot the butter over the surface and place the dish in the centre of the oven. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the surface is golden brown and bubbling.

Remove the dish from the oven and serve immediately.