Gratin Dauphinois [France]

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From the historic French region of Dauphiné hails this decadent dish where layers upon layers of thinly sliced potatoes are embraced lovingly by milk, cream, and cheese before being baked to perfection. The creamy interior will have the faintest hint of garlic and nutmeg while the golden crust is all about the savory Gruyère cheese.

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When shopping for potatoes for this dish, go for a starchy potato such as the Idaho, Golden Wonder, or any type of Russet potato. Usually waxy potatoes are better suited for gratins, however, for this dish we need the extra starch to help thicken the sauce.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 medium Idaho potatoes
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese
  • Fresh chives, finely sliced for serving, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a small pot, combine the milk and cream and heat up the mixture until it is barely simmering. Turn off the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.
  3. Peel the potatoes. Then with a mandoline (or knife if you prefer), slice the potatoes into coins about 2 millimeters thick.
  4. Rub the halved garlic along the interior bottom and sides of a cast iron skillet.
  5. Arrange the first layer of potatoes and ladle in just enough of the milk and cream mixture to cover the potatoes. Top with a light sprinkling of cheese. Repeat layers until all the potatoes have been added. Dispose of any liquid left in the pot, but liberally add any excess cheese to the top layer of the skillet.
  6. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the potatoes are easily pierced by a fork and the top layer is golden, 30 to 40 minutes.
  7. Serve with a sprinkle of chives, if desired.

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