According to Patricia Wells, one can never have too many potato gratin recipes. I agree.
It may seem as if I chronicle Angela’s dislike of foods too often on here, but I can always make her smile by welcoming her home from work or school with a potato gratin in the oven. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve made one for someone who hasn’t fallen in love with it.
Potato gratins manage to be both decadent and homey at the same time. While you may not have eaten them growing up (I know I certainly did not), they still manage to be comfort food. Somehow they manage to transcend cultural boundaries.
If you’ve been paying attention, this recipe may seem similar to Gratin Dauphinois Madame Cartet (Madame Cartet’s Potato Gratin). And that would be due to the fact that they can be found in the same cookbook. In fact, they are on adjoining pages.
Why bother with different potato gratin recipes? The obvious answer is that they’re all different. But more precisely, they compliment other foods differently. The gratin from Madame Cartet has dominate flavors of cheese and cream. It is undeniably rich. This gratin gains stronger flavors from the bay leaf and the nutmeg. They help to reduce the richness of the gratin. It compliments foods which are less rich.
This is a bit more complicated version of a potato gratin. It requires the potatoes first be parboiled in milk which requires a little extra time but not that much extra work. It mainly needs extra planning.
Gratin Dauphinois Madame Laracine (Madame Laracine’s Potato Gratin)
Adapted from Bistro Cooking
3 lbs. baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups whole milk
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp salt
3 bay leaves
1 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
2 cups grated Swiss cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- In a large sauce pan, place the potatoes, garlic, salt, and bay leaves. Cover with the milk and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stirring occasionally, simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat. Remove from the heat
- Transfer half of the potatoes from the sauce pan to a large gratin dish. Cover the potatoes with half the crème fraîche. Sprinkle with half the cheese, nutmeg, and pepper. Add the remaining potatoes then cover with the remaining crème fraîche. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, nutmeg, and pepper.
- Bake the gratin for about 1 hour, or until it is crispy and golden on top.
Serves 6 to 8.