Friday, December 08, 2006

Potato Gratin like in the Alps

What? December already! Where did time go? I'm in shock. This fall has been so busy at work and otherwise. I guess I'd better post a new recipe before you guys give up on me...

Here is a very yummy potato gratin called "gratin dauphinois", very famous in the Grenoble region where it comes from (an hour east of Lyon, at the foot of the Alps). Purists would argue that this isn't a "true" gratin dauphinois because I am using cheese, which would make this dish a "gratin savoyard" (from Savoie region, just north of Dauphiné) but whatever. It tastes great!



Serves 6
Baking time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • 3 pounds (1.5 kg) Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1/2 pound (225 g) Gruyère cheese (either Emmental or Comté –Comté being stronger, or Beaufort if you can find some –it's very expensive in the US)
  • 8 oz. (225 g) crème fraîche (french cultured cream), or heavy cream if you can't find crème fraîche
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup (20 cL) milk
  • salt and black pepper
  • butter (just enough to butter the dish –no oil please!)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  1. Peel the potatoes. Slice them thinly (about 1/8") and place in water to remove excess starch.
  2. Butter a deep oven-safe dish (like this one). Peel and press the garlic cloves or chop them very finely. Spread at the bottom of the dish.
  3. Preheat your oven at 390F (200C).
  4. Dry the potato slices in a clean cotton cloth. Place a first layer of potato slices in the dish. Season with salt and pepper. Spread 1 tablespoon of crème fraîche. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.
  5. Add a new layer of potato and proceed as described above. Repeat until all the potatoes are layered. Make sure to keep 1 tablespoon of crème fraîche for later. Finish with cheese.
  6. Pour the milk on the potatoes.
  7. Bake for 1 hour at 390F.
  8. Beat the egg with the remaining crème fraîche and pour this mix on the gratin. Bake for 15 more minutes.

This is ideal with some crunchy, delicately bitter frisée salad. In Lyon we add poached eggs, garlic croutons and sizzling hot, diced bacon ("les lardons") to this salad, served with vinaigrette dressing.
Alternatively you could sprinkle a few whole or half walnuts on the frisée and serve it with vinaigrette dressing made of colza or sunflower oil (i.e. a not very flavored oil) plus 1 tablespoon of walnut oil.



    27 comments:

    eva said...

    Quand on est loin, les choses toutes simples nous manquent ! Joli gratin !

    Crinis said...

    This was simply a joy to eat! I need to come over more often and partake of "My French Cuisine" dishes.

    Estelle said...

    Hi Eva: so true! I miss all types of dishes, but especially the simple ones (childhood nostalgia?).

    Crinis: thanks! What made it so good was to have friends to share it with :-) We should definitely do this (even) more often.

    Raul Gallu said...

    Hi
    I think you're running an excelent blog here with a lot of tasty recipes. I also run two blogs about food Chicken Soup Recipes and Beef Stew Recipes. Please visit them and maybe we can exhange links.

    Charles said...

    Hi!

    Just wanted you to know that I made this for a party last night and it came out fantastic! I found it with google, now I'll have to see what other goodies I can make from your site.

    Anonymous said...

    ?????what size baking dish do you use?????

    Estelle said...

    Depending on the amount of potatoes, you need to choose a dish that will give you about 2" of thickness. I think (but not sure...)I used a dish that was about WxDxH=12x8x2 inches.

    Anonymous said...

    ????? Can you prepare this a day ahead of time, refrigerate it, and bake it the next day????

    Anonymous said...

    ????? Can you prepare this a day ahead of time, refrigerate it, and bake it the next day????

    Estelle said...

    Hi there,
    I think it would be better to bake the gratin just after making it because the cream and the potatoes might turn bad. What you could do is prepare the gratin and bake it the day before (steps 1 to 7) and then simply reheat it and do step 8 just before eating it.

    Anonymous said...

    I used Eva's recipe for Christmas dinner-Potato Gratin is an annual tradition. Everyone loved it. I was very pleased with the creaminess and perfectly cooked potatoes. Thank You!

    Pete said...

    Very nice! Tried and tested in sunny South Africa! We put crispy diced bacon in ours and it was really good, but not for Weight Watchers!

    Pete said...

    Very nice! Tried and tested in sunny South Africa! We put crispy diced bacon in ours and it was really good, but not for Weight Watchers!

    Heather T. said...

    Mmm, c'a l'air bon. Tout a fait ce que je cherchais! Je n'ai pas la moitie des ingredients, mais on va improviser... ;)

    Anonymous said...

    This is the recipe I was searching for, with its combination of Gruyere, creme fraiche, and Yukon gold potatoes. But I have two questions: 1) no pre-cooking of potatoes necessary? 2) no nutmeg?
    I'm hoping you can answer this before Christmas Eve! Thanks, Anna

    Estelle said...

    Hi Anna,

    Nope, no pre-cooking necessary. The potatoes are soaked in cream and milk and will have plenty of time (and heat) to cook in the oven. Feel free to add nutmeg, this usually works very well with this type of dishes although this wasn't part of the original recipe.

    I've also found that mixing gruyere and blue cheese is a nice alternative.

    Happy holidays! :-)

    Anonymous said...

    Hi Estelle,
    Thanks! I'm going to have to follow your make-ahead directions because my brother's oven will be filled with a roast beast! So I'll do step 8 after he takes the prime rib out. I'm assuming that I should not cover the dish with foil? Anna

    Estelle said...

    Hi Anna,

    What you might want to do is reheat the dish first, then poor the egg+cream. Otherwise the top might cook and darken too fast. But no foil should be necessary I think.

    Enjoy!

    Anonymous said...

    Thank you, thank you! That's it. Joyeux Noël!
    Anna

    Leah said...

    Yummmm. That looks amazing. I used to live in Grenoble as a child.

    I added a link to this recipe in my article on food and family. (the 2008 year in review article)

    Thanks.

    Leah Klein
    Boston Family Foodie
    examiner.com

    Anonymous said...

    Vincenzo said :

    A perfect recipe and a taste that reminded me of home in Geneva, Switz. A perfect part of this Christmas meal. Merci.

    Estelle said...

    Happy New Year 2009 everyone!

    Leah, thank you so much for the link at the end of your article (here: http://www.examiner.com/x-1240-Boston-Family-Foodie-Examiner~y2008m12d23-2008-Year-in-Review--A-year-of-seasonal-produce-in-New-England)

    Thanks for your comment Vincenzo!

    Kathy W. said...

    I made this dish tonight and it was fabulous! Thank you for sharing this.

    Anonymous said...

    I am preparing a brunch for 20, and am hoping to serve some sort of gratin/tortilla (I'm flexible, but like the idea of cheese being involved). The issue is that I want something that I can cut and plate in advance. Once set, is this recipe pretty firm, or does it ooze too much to cut ahead? Thanks!

    Estelle said...

    Hi there,
    This is pretty firm, because the potatoes absorb the milk as they cook.
    Enjoy!

    Dena Yard said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Dena Yard said...

    It looks so delicious. I want to try this at home. Good thing I saw your blog. Thanks for sharing the recipe. nyc catering