Classic Gratin Dauphinois
This will make you fall in love with the potato again! I’ve been making this a lot lately for dinner jobs and for my family at Easter. It’s a classic and is totally delicious for a special occasion. It is not something to eat everyday as there is a ton of cream and butter but, man is it worth it! I’ve kept this as close to a traditional French version as possible and you will need a mandolin to get the potatoes thinly sliced. It goes well with meat as a side or it’s actually delicious as the main part of the meal for a fancy veggie option.
1950g peeled potatoes (Desiree or Belle de Fontena are good varieties)
600ml whole milk
600ml double cream
nutmeg for grating
12 cloves of garlic, each bashed once
4 tbsp unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the baking dish
sea salt and black pepper
If you have time, add the potatoes into large bowl with cold water to get rid of some of the starch for about 20 minutes or longer. This just means that they will be less watery when baking!
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees and lightly butter a baking dish (roughly around 28cm by 20/22cm). Add the milk, cream, smashed garlic cloves and a generous grating of nutmeg into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Gently cook for about 3 minutes for the milk to infuse. Remove from the heat and run through a sieve. Season with salt and pepper.
While the milk is cooking, slice the potatoes with a mandolin to a few millimetres thick. Neatly organise a layer of potato slices on the bottom of the baking dish. Then pour some of the infused cream so that the potatoes are covered. Then repeat adding another potato layer followed by the cream. Add some tiny bits of butter between each layer and season each potato layer with salt and pepper. Continue until you reach the top of the dish leaving about 1cm free from the top. Cover the top with the cream mix, grate over with more nutmeg, butter, salt and pepper. Bake for 1hour 15-20 minutes in the middle of the oven or until a knife in the middle slips in easily. It is quite a slow bake! This can be made the day before and then reheated. It almost gets better with time!