Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Potato Gratin Dauphinois

What is the most perfect French side dish to the most perfect Beef Bourguignon? A simple yet decadent Potato Gratin Dauphinois, that's what! Unlike some other potato gratins, this is in a totally cheese-free zone.

Although I love melted, gooey cheese on all things, especially potatoes, sometimes it's nice to prepare something so perfectly elegant, yet rustic, that it needs nothing more than some milk and cream to get things started. Meanwhile, a little touch of Dijon mustard and nutmeg add a subtle flair. This potato dish is so restrained, but I wouldn't change or add a single thing.

I'm not entirely sure what cooking the potatoes slices and milk/cream on the stove-top really gains before adding it to a casserole dish and baking away, but whatever it does is a good thing, and I'm happy to stick to this recipe for future endeavors.

On a side note, we used potatoes my dad actually grew in his garden, so this was especially enjoyable for my family to enjoy! You can slice the potatoes very thinly by hand or with a mandoline, but just beware not to slice off your fingers! I have one and use it occasionally, but it scares the bejeezus out of me.

Potato Gratin Dauphinois
Serves 6 to 8 as a Side Dish
(Adapted from The Little Paris Kitchen)

2 pounds firm-fleshed potatoes
1 1/4 cups milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream (I actually used 1 cup heavy cream and 1 1/2 cups milk)
Pinch nutmeg
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon soft butter
Chopped parsley or dill (optional)

Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Place them in a pot with the milk, cream, nutmeg, mustard, and salt and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the clove of garlic in half and rub the cut sides around the inside of a baking dish (about 3 quarts is a good size since the milk bubbles up quite a bit when baking), then smear the butter around the inside of the dish.

Pour the potato and cream mixture into the dish and spread the potatoes out evenly. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Serve hot, topped with a sprinkling of chopped parsley, if desired.


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