-In a small saucepan combine the following:
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
4 cloves chopped garlic
2 TBS finely chopped fennel fronds
1 bay leaf
-Bring to a boil and then remove from heat and set aside to infuse.
-Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
-Slice 1.5# of potatoes into 1/8 inch thick slices.
-Chop up 1-2 fennel bulbs.
-Then chop about 4 oz. (1 cup) thinly sliced ham (optional).
-In a large 2-qt. gratin dish or heavy baking dish spread about 1/3 of the potato slices.
-Season with a light sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg and some sea salt and pepper.
-Then overtop of the potatoes, layer half of the fennel and half of the ham.
-Top with another 1/3 of the potatoes and some more salt, pepper and nutmeg.
-Then spread the other half of the fennel and the other half of the ham.
-Top with the remaining potatoes and more salt, pepper and nutmeg.
-Put the gratin on a baking sheet to catch drips and pour the cream mixture over top, discarding the bay leaf.
-Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
-Remove the foil sprinkle the gratin with 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese and baste with the liquid in the dish until the potatoes are very tender
and the top is brown, another 30-45 minutes.
-Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.