Friday, December 27, 2013

Creamy Garlic Potatoes - Gratin Style

I love gratins.  Simply put, but they are so easy to change and as long as your combinations take into consideration how thick it is, how much fat there is and liquid as well, you can make nearly anything into a gratin of sorts.  I first remember eating gratins when I was a child.  My mom called them scalloped potatoes, but I later learned of them as gratins.  My mom used to make scalloped potatoes with ham chunks in them.  I used to search for the crunchy top and the little chunks of ham.  I loved the while dish, but those two things made eating the scalloped potatoes so much more fun and interesting.  She also served them piping hot.  To this day food and drinks are not hot enough if I am unable to burn my tongue on them.  Of course I let them cool down, but I can stand quite a high temperature and those first few bites aren't always about the taste, but about the heat.

Later I remember making gratin potatoes when I lived in Germany.  I was visiting a friend of a friend and she was making them for dinner.  I helped out and remember the oodles of cheese and cream which were added to the potatoes with a touch of nutmeg.  It was such an interesting place to cook as it was an old farmhouse, heated with fire burning stoves.  The kitchen was huge, but had few work spaces, so the kitchen table became the place to put everything together, which made for a very social area for chatting while helping to cook.

So with those memories in mind, this gratin tends to be quite sweet with all the cream that is used.  The garlic also sweetens up in the roasting, so I would recommend a bit of cheese on top as the salt helps balance everything out.

Creamy Garlic Potatoes - Gratin Style
(based on Cook in a class of your own by Richard Bertinet)

8 medium potatoes
5 cloves garlic
parsley
4 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups heavy cream
sharp cheddar (shredded for sprinkling on top)

Preheat oven to 400F.  Use a mandoline and thinly cut all the potatoes.  Press or chop the garlic.  Chop the parsley.  Heat olive oil in a sauce pan.  Once hot add the potato slices and make sure all are tossed with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Once coated in oil, add the garlic and pour in cream to cover the potatoes.  Let thicken over low heat for about 5 minutes.  Stir in the parsley and place into a large baking dish.  (I used my oven roasting pan as I like a thin layer so the potatoes cook quicker, but you can use any size.)  Bake until golden brown.  Remove from oven and sprinkle cheese over the top.  Return to oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese.  Remove from oven and let cook for a few minutes before serving as everything should be very hot.

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