December 11, 2015
There’s nothing more comforting to see (and eat) on a holiday table than potatoes au gratin. For still more recipes from My Kitchen Year, head here.
POTATOES AU GRATIN
1½ cups cream
2½ pounds boiling potatoes (such as Yukon Gold)
½ pound Gruyère cheese (grated)
2 cups milk
2 cloves garlic (smashed)
1 teaspoon salt
Serves 6 to 8
The secret to these potatoes is that they’re cooked twice. First you plunk them into a big bath of milk and cream that’s been infused with just a touch of garlic and bring them gently to a boil. Then you dump them into a baking dish, grate a bit of fresh nutmeg over them, and sprinkle the entire top with Gruyère before putting them into the oven where they drink up all the liquid as the cheese turns into a crisp crust.
Pour cream and milk into a large pot. Peel the potatoes and slice them as thinly as you can, putting them into the pot as they are ready. Add the garlic, the salt, and a few good grinds of pepper and bring it all slowly to a boil.
Meanwhile, butter a gratin dish or a rectangular baking pan. When the milk comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and pour the contents into the buttered gratin dish. Grate a bit of fresh nutmeg over the top and cover with grated Gruyère cheese.
The baking is pretty forgiving; you can bake at anywhere from 300 to 400 degrees, depending on what else you have in the oven. The timing’s forgiving, too; at the lower temperature it will take about an hour to absorb the liquid and turn the top golden, at 400 degrees it will take about 35 minutes.
Let it rest for at least 15 minutes—but this, too, is forgiving. If the potatoes have to wait an hour, they will be absolutely fine.
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