A special dish for special occasions. These potatoes dauphinoise (aka scalloped or gratin potatoes) are out of this world. Cooked in milk and cream with a touch of rosemary and gruyere, they are truly magnificent.
I don’t usually use big words like magnificent for my own cooking. However, I am totally in love with these potatoes. It’s understandable, I mean they are cooked in cream for goodness’ sake. It amazes me actually, how these few, simple ingredients can produce such an exquisite result. They’re not difficult. But they do require patience, time, and care. You need to pay attention during the whole process, from how you slice the potatoes, to how you stir them while they soften, to how you arrange them in the dish. And then you wait for them to slowly cook in the oven and become this amazing, fragrant, gorgeous thing. A thing you secretly want to take in front of you and devour with a spoon before anyone has a chance to stick their fork in. (Or maybe that’s just me.) So, if you have a special dinner planned, these potatoes dauphinoise need to be on the menu. Make sure you set aside some time to give them the attention they deserve, and find it in your heart to share them with your loved ones.
2 kg potatoes (1650gr peeled – 8 medium large)
220 ml evaporated milk + 220 ml water
400 ml cream
butter for greasing
50 gr gruyere, grated
1 tsp rosemary, dried
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper, freshly cracked
Slice the potatoes carefully to a thickness of 3 to 5 millimetres (0.12 to 0.20 of an inch – that’s about 1/8 inch or slightly more, but not as much as a 1/4 inch - basically as thin as possible).
Place the undiluted milk, water and cream into a wide and deep pan and heat. Just before it boils add the potatoes and turn the heat to medium. Let them soften for 15 minutes (if you are halving the recipe make it 10 minutes). During this time you want to be stirring very often, and trying to separate the slices of potato that have stuck together (most of them). All pieces should get a dip in the milk mixture. Do this as best you can. The liquid will not cover the potatoes.
Preheat oven to 150C fan assisted, and grease a large baking dish (33x23cm – about 13x9inches). With a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes a few at a time, into the dish. Arrange them in layers making sure the slices don’t fall exactly on top of each other. They should have small spaces in between. Take your time. When you’ve done half the potatoes take 3-4 tablespoons of the milk mixture and pour over the layers in the dish. Continue with the rest of the potatoes in the same way.
After you’ve finished layering, add the gruyere, rosemary, salt and pepper to the milk mixture and stir to dissolve. Pour it over the potatoes and very gently move the dish so it spreads through nicely. Cover tightly with foil.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes on the middle rack. Remove the foil and bake for another 25 minutes or so. Turn the oven off and let the dish sit inside for 10 minutes. Remove, let rest for a little longer and serve.
Notes. Things you need to pay attention to for success:
- Slicing the potatoes. Get them as thin as possible.
- Stirring the potatoes while softening. You want them separated as much as possible.
- Arranging the potatoes in the dish. You want the little spaces in between layers.
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