This is a wonderful dish that is absurdly easy to produce and makes you look like a professional Chef. It is a good accompaniment for Roast Lamb or Roast Chicken, but is as delicious served on its own with a green salad
- 5 medium sized waxy potatoes, peeled or not peeled,
- 4 cloves of garlic (smoked garlic is good for this dish if you can get hold of it)
- ½ pint of reduced fat crème fraîche or single cream or, if health conscious, a mixture of semi-skimmed milk and Creme Fraiche
- 3 oz of good quality Gruyère or Emmentaler cheese, freshly grated
- a lemon
- salt and pepper
I recently used some Swiss Appenzeller cheese for this and it was the absolute best !!
- Slice the potatoes very thinly (about ⅛" thick) if possible using a Mandolin to achieve evenness, and place them in some fresh water.
- Twirl them around with your hand a little as this gets rid of the starch which tends to make the gratin a little unpleasant.
- Pour away the water and place the potatoes on a wooden surface and pat dry with some kitchen paper (or loo roll!) or a towel. This is more important than one thinks, as otherwise the remaining water will mix with the cream/milk mixture causing curdling problems.
- Return the sliced potatoes to a bowl and add the cream/milk mixture and the garlic which you have either sliced or pressed through a garlic press. Add a generous pinch of sea salt and some pepper.
- You can also add a few fresh herbs (thyme is particularly good) but this is up to you. But I suggest don't go over the top.
- Peel the zest of the lemon and add it to the mixture.
- Mix well, so the cream gives a good coating to all the potatoes.
- Some people tend to layer the potatoes in the heat proof bowl first and then pour the cream over. This, to my mind is a little unreliable as the cream does not diffuse through all the layers - and in any event the potatoes in a higgledy-piggledy pile in the bowl is much more attractive !
- Pile the potatoes into a buttered, oven-proof dish. The size is if course difficult to gauge but the potatoes should not be layered more than about 4 thick.
- Grate a generous amount of Gruyere, Ementaler or Appenzeller cheese - please don't use Cheddar! - and spread over the mixture.
- Pop it all into the oven and leave until the top layer of cheese and potatoes are brown and the cream is bubbling and running down the side of the dish. This will take about 40 minutes
- For a final flourish before serving, grate a goodly amount of fresh nutmeg over the cheese.
- Serve with a salad as an delicious meal on its own, or as an accompaniment to light meat dishes. My view is that it tends not to go very well with fish.
A rather pleasant addition to this dish, and to make it even more delicious, fry up some pancetta, or bacon cubes and add them randomly as you build the dish !
--Peterkirchem 11:13, 3 July 2007 (UTC)