Top | Side Dishes
(recipe, Caroline Cummins)
Traditional recipes for the creamy French potato casserole known as a gratin Dauphinois can be rather fussy and take up to two hours (or more) to complete. This is my streamlined version, doable in less than 90 minutes and with several optional (read: skippable) steps. If you get it in the oven first, it'll be ready by the time you've finished making the rest of dinner.
- 1 large garlic clove, halved lengthwise (optional)
- 1 Tbsp. butter, for greasing the pan
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp. fresh or ½ tsp. dried thyme leaves (optional)
- ½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
- 3 lb. (about 4 or 5 large) russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into thin rounds (see Note)
- 1 small onion, sliced into thin rings (optional)
- ⅓ cup grated Gruyère or Comté cheese, or Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- If using the halved garlic clove, rub the cut sides of the garlic clove around the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; discard the garlic or not, as you like. Use the tablespoon of butter for greasing the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Put the cream, salt, pepper, and optional thyme and nutmeg into a large bowl. Add the potato slices and the onions, if using, and toss to coat.
- Arrange the potatoes and onions, if using, in layers in the dish. You needn't be aesthetically finicky here; just scatter everything in rough layers. Pour the remaining cream from the bowl evenly over the potatoes. If using the cheese, scatter it evenly over the tops of the potatoes.
- Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the cream is bubbling and the tops of the potatoes are nicely browned. Let rest for a few minutes before serving, or let cool and reheat later.
You can use a mandoline for slicing the peeling potatoes; this is both faster than slicing by hand, and produces very thin circles of potato.