The elegant simplicity of the dish gives it room for reinvention, letting you put your own spin on it. Our family created a Cajun interpretation of the French classic, with lumps of fresh crabmeat adding a fresh, tangy pop of flavor against the creamy backdrop of perfectly blended cheese.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with butter and set aside.2.
Melt the butter over high heat in a medium skillet. Add the crab and all but 1 teaspoon of the garlic and sauté until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.3.
Mix together the reserved garlic with the salt and pepper.4.
To assemble the gratin, arrange an even layer of potatoes in the prepared baking dish. Top evenly with 1/2 teaspoon of the garlic-salt mixture, 1½ tablespoons of the green onion, 1 cup of the crab mixture and 1½ cups of the cheese. Repeat the layers twice more, and then do a final layer of just potatoes, garlic-salt mix, green onions and cheese. Pour the heavy cream around the edges of the pan and cover it tightly with foil.5.
Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, uncover, and bake for 20 minutes more, until the top layer is golden and gooey.
Reprinted with permission from "The Family Table: Recipes and Moments from a Nomadic Life" by Jazz, Jurnee, Jake and Jussie Smollett (William Morrow Cookbooks, April, 2018)