Wikipedia has this to say about my favourite potato dish in the world.
“Gratin Dauphinois is a speciality of the Dauphiné region of France. The dish, typically uses thinly sliced and layered potatoes and cream cooked in a buttered dish rubbed with garlic.”
Always pleasing and always hard to resist, this gratin is the culprit for my uncontrolled weight gain when I first learnt how to make it. Be careful because it packs a lot of calories! Usually served as a side to hearty meat dishes, it can also be served as a main and very often, people do.
Ingredients (Serves 3-4 as a main, 6-8 as a side)
1kg Russet Potatoes (peeled and sliced into 0.5cm thin galettes)
250-300gm Full Cream Milk
250-300gm Cooking Cream
4 Fat Cloves Garlic (crushed or minced)
150gm Bacon (sliced into 1cm wide slices)
1 Yellow Onion (sliced)
100gm Grated Gruyere Cheese
Salt and Pepper
1. Sweat the bacon for a minute to release the salt water and fats then add the sliced onions and sauteed it until the onion is slightly browned (caramelized). Remove and cool.
2. Put the potatoes and garlic into a pot/saucepan and cover them with the milk and cream. Bring the dairy mixture to a boil over moderate heat and then let it simmer for 1 minute. Turn off the heat.
3. Use half of the potatoes to line the bottom of a baking dish, then spread the bacon/onion mixture evenly over it. Spread a thin layer of the grated nutmeg over the entire dish and add salt/pepper if desired.
4. Put the remaining potatoes into the dish and even-out the top before pouring the milk/cream mixture over everything evenly. It is ok if the liquid does not cover the potatoes. Cover with a thin layer of grated nutmeg again.
5. Cover the top with a layer of grated gruyere cheese and pop this into a preheated oven to bake at 180 degrees Celsius until the cheese is golden brown and a knife can penetrate the layers of potatoes with ease.
6. Serve HOT!
When I first learnt this dish, the recipe specifically asked for gruyere cheese for authenticity. The chef did say I can substitute with other kind of cheeses like mozarella which I often did and I sometimes use aged cheddar (not slices!) depending on what's leftover in the fridge. But you owe it to yourself to try the gruyere version at least once - the cheese is going to stink up your kitchen but you will be rewarded with an amazingly earthy cheese that is elevated with the nutmeg.