Potatoes Gratin Dauphinois

Yesterday in Olympic news, it was a Dutch sweep in the men’s 500m speed skating competition when skaters Michael Mulder, Johannes Smeekins, and Ronald Mulder won medals in the event.  U.S. skier Julia Mancuso won bronze in the ladies’ super combined Alpine skiing event, the first U.S. Alpine skiing medal of the Sochi Games.  The U.S. women’s hockey team beat Switzerland 9-0 to advance to the semifinals.

Day five of our Winter Olympics feature brings us to the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France.  These were the first Winter Olympic Games to be broadcast in color.  Luge and bobsleigh events had to be determined after the third round instead of the fourth, because the tracks were exposed to too much sun in addition to an unseasonable temperature increase.

Grenoble is located in the Dauphine region of France, for which the dish potatoes Dauphinois is named.  There are many variations to this side dish- whether or not to include nutmeg seems to be a hot debate- but they all start with thinly sliced potatoes baked in cream or milk.  If you add cheese, the dish becomes what is known as potatoes gratin Dauphinois.  I first made these without cheese and while it was a perfectly acceptable side dish, it didn’t have any real wow factor.  After consulting a second recipe from Julia Childs I added some Swiss cheese and these same sliced potatoes, more or less cooked the same way as the first recipe I used, became the comfort food to end all comfort food.  I recommend a mandoline for slicing the potatoes evenly as evenly slicing the potatoes is the best way to ensure that they cook evenly.

dauphinois

Potatoes Gratin Dauphinois

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. starchy potatoes (I recommend Yukon gold or Russett)
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1 C. grated Swiss cheese
  • 1 C. boiling milk or cream

Directions:

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Peel the potatoes and slice them into slices 1/8 inch thick.

Place the potato slices into a bowl of cold water until ready to use.

Rub the 1/2 garlic clove on the bottom and sides of a baking dish (9 x 9 or similar).

Smear 1 Tbsp. of the butter on the bottom and sides of the baking dish.

Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan.

Meanwhile, drain the potatoes and blot them dry with a clean kitchen towel.

Spread half of the potatoes in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

Spread half of the salt and pepper, cheese, and butter over the potato layer.

Spread the remaining half of the potato slices over the first layer and sprinkle with the remaining salt and pepper.  Top with the remaining cheese and butter.

Pour the boiling milk over the top of the potato layers.

Place the baking dish in the upper 1/3 of the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, the milk is absorbed, and the top is golden brown.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Julia Child

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