Two Burnt Fingers. Two Gratin Dauphinois Dishes.

Two gratin recipes only two days apart!

A small mishap: Had a minor accident this morning as I attempted my second gratin. While I was placing the dish in the preheated oven, my father came in the kitchen and asked something. It startled me so I kind of jumped a little, making the back of two fingers hit the 400 degree hot oven walls. Ouch. Thankfully it’s only minor and didn’t even reach a first degree–but it did and still does sting quite a bit.

So yes, two Gratin recipes!

The first one was an item I served as a side dish for the dinner I hosted with lovely friends last Wednesday. It is the classic take on this lovely potato dish — inspired both by recipes of Julia Child and the French Cooking Academy ((https://www.thefrenchcookingacademy.com), but as usual, I still had a bit of my own spin to it.

This dish took a full ninety minutes to bake, but well worth it: The top was a bit crispy but once we cut through it, the potatoes were soft but they remained stacked together like a great lasagna. It was creamy and slightly cheesy— without being overly rich, good enough to cut into into shapes and serve elegantly on a plate gourmet or restaurant style.

I felt though that I made a mistake of not covering it while baking for the first 80 minutes, and then baking it uncovered for the last 10 (shame, I burnt the sides).

The second one was inspired by Jamie Oliver’s recipe. My mom loved the gratin I made from last Wednesday so much, I made it again for brunch–but due to time constraints, decided to with Jamie’s recipe.

Jamie said that this is really not the classic recipe, but “taking some of the accents of flavor, it’s going to cook quicker, for busy people but still want nice food”. It had the nice, creamy goodness of gratin— but the layers didn’t hold like the classic recipe. Also the cream hasn’t permeated through each potato slice.

So the verdict? I very much prefer the Julia Child/French Cooking Academy classic technique, but wouldn’t mind the Jamie Oliver version on a busy day.

Classic Gratin Dauphinois (adapted from Julia Child and French Cooking Academy)

Prep: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 90 minutes

Serves 5

*note: tweaked the recipe with a few ingredients that I personally love. Will italicize for reference.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg pounds potatoes peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves garlic.
  • 2 tablespoons butter, diced and divided.
  • Kosher salt/sea salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper.
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp of dijon mustard
  • 1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit or 100 degrees celsius.
  2. Crush one clove of garlic and rub all sides of the baking dish with the garlic.
  3. Rub 1 tbsp of butter along the sides of the baking dish as well.
  4. Mix the cream, milk, nutmeg dijon mustard, half the parmesan cheese, 1 clove of garlic (chopped), salt and pepper together in a separate bowl.
  5. Start layering by adding a few spoonfuls of the cream mixture at bottom of the baking dish.
  6. Layer the potatoes, ensuring that there are no spaces between each layer. Season each layer with a small amount of salt and pepper before adding the cream mixture and another layer of potatoes.
  7. Once layers are completed, pour in the remaining amount of the cream mixture, ensuring that the potatoes are covered with enough cream.
  8. Top with the remaining parmesan cheese, sharp cheddar and knobs of butter spread around in pockets.
  9. Place in the oven covered with foil and let it cook for 70 minutes. Remove foil and let it continue to bake for 20 more minutes uncovered.
  10. Once cooked, garnish with chopped parsley. Let the dish cool for about 10-15 minutes before serving to allow the gratin to stick together.

Quick Dauphinoise Potatoes (inspired from Jamie Oliver)

Prep: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 26 minutes

Serves 4

*Omitted shallots (not available at the time it was made) and replaced with garlic and a half a small white onion.

Ingredients (almost the same):

  • 3 large potatoes potatoes sliced thinly, skin on.
  • 2 cloves garlic.
  • 1 small white onion sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons butter, diced and divided.
  • Kosher salt/sea salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper.
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp of dijon mustard
  • 1 bayleaf
  • Half a cup sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon fresh tarraggon
  • Parsley to garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the cream, milk, dijon mustard, parmesan cheese, nutmeg, half the tarragon, salt and pepper.
  3. On a baking dish, melt 1 tbsp butter over the stove top (yes, you heard that right)
  4. Sauté the onions and garlic until garlic is fragrant and onion is translucent. Add the bayleaf and ladle in a small amount of the cream mixture.
  5. Add in the potatoes, and the cream mixture and mix together.
  6. Arrange the potatoes so that they are still slightly layered and cover with foil and let it cook on medium to low heat for 6 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat, remove the foil temporarily and top the dish with grated sharp cheddar cheese. Cover with foil again.
  8. Pop the dish in the oven and cook for about 10 minutes covered and 10 minutes uncovered (total of 20 minutes).
  9. Once cooked top with chopped parsley and tarragon and let sit for five minutes before serving.

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