Scalloped Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Roasted Garlic

This potato gratin is more than the comfort food that David Lebovitz’s has suggested in his book My Paris Kitchen. This dish stands out as substantial comfort food. Warming and incredibly satisfying.

Following the recipe, I sliced two and a half pound of russet potatoes. It went quickly with a mandolin. Then I realized that they won’t all fit in my stardard gratin pan. I proceeded and pulled out my trusty 12-inch cast iron pan which fulfilled David’s specification of a baking dish with sides at least two inches high. As for all manners of baking, the size of the baking pan is a consideration not to be ignored. Or else, there will be uneven baking and, worst, the unwanted messy overflow in the oven.

I love the idea of one-pot cooking in a cast iron pan. I’ve made bread, rolls, galettes, pot pies, stew, paella, and now a potato gratin in this pan. I own a set of inexpensive Lodge cast-iron pans. Do you know that these cast-iron pans are American classic with Chinese roots?

According to America’s Test Kitchen: “For centuries before DuPont invented Teflon in 1938, people cooked in naturally nonstick pans made of cast iron. The cast iron manufacturing process originated in China in the sixth century BCE and has barely changed since…. Because of its great heat retention, cast iron has historically been a favorite material for cookware across a variety of cultures…. In U.S. history, cast iron’s adaptability to open-flame cooking made it a natural fit for early American settlers and pioneers….”

I like using cast iron pans. Besides the illustrious history, their ability to withstand and retain high temperature, on the stove or in the oven, is indispensable in browning and searing food. I even served the finished food in this huge 12-inch pan on the table a few times. All and all, it does the job admirably and efficiently. This pan will last forever, if there is such a thing. If I can only choose one pan, this one easily tops the list.

Best bite: the slightly burnt crust on top

So much for the diversion on cookware, I can go on and on. You can tell by the look of it that this is a delicious pan of crusty, cheesy and tasty potatoes. It’s less heavy than I had expected. I’d be happy to eat it any day. It helps that David’s recipe is easy to follow and very forgiving. Ingredient list is short: only five. Very little waste. No fretting about critical and delicate step that would undermine the whole dish. I had as much fun making the gratin as the pleasure in savoring each bite of the potatoes.  Everyone can make this gratin successfully by following a few simple steps:

  • Make the roasted garlic cream – Roast about ten unpeeled garlic cloves in olive oil wrapped in aluminum foil in a 375°F oven for an hour. Make a paste with the roasted garlic, peeled, with spoonfuls of cream or half-and-half. Heat the paste with about three cups of cream over low heat in a saucepan until warmed and set aside.
  • Peel and slice 2 1/2 lb of Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes in 1/4 inch slices.
  • Layer potatoes, then minced fresh chives (or your favorite herb) and crumbled blue cheese (1 1/2 cups or 195 grams) in a gratin or cast-iron pan. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat and build two additional layers on top. Pour the roasted garlic cream over the layers.
  • Bake the gratin for one hour at 375°F, until browned.

Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed. Please stop by Cook-the-book-fridays to see more comments on this recipe from this online group, a community of engaging home cooks, who are working through the recipes in My Paris Kitchen.

Roasted garlic cream makes it decadent

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  • Reply
    November 4, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Love your 12" iron pan, I have one that is half your pan size.. rarely used ( don't know why? ;P ). You got mighty great results there!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2016 at 11:53 am

    I love that you used a cast iron pan! And it goes from stove to table so easily. Your potatoes look lovely and delicious and as many great adjectives as you can thinknof to describe them!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    I have since discovered that gratin and cast iron pan go hand in hand.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    I can think of more adjectives: smooth, silky and luscious. All good!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    Beautiful results and definitely worth repeating. Working this in a cast iron pan is a great idea, I love using mine for a frittata, it's great.

    enjoyed the info on cast iron pans, quite interesting. I could never stand teflon pans at all.

  • Reply
    kitchen flavours
    November 5, 2016 at 7:20 am

    A great idea to use the cast iron pan! Your potatoes looks delicious, creamy and with lovely browned top!

  • Reply
    November 5, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Your dish looks wonderful! And I really appreciated the info on the cast iron. I think that there may still be one or two around here that I promise myself I will clean up and use… hasn't happened yet – but there's always another time! But what a great look, and these potatoes were awesome. I agree – great to pull together whenever!

  • Reply
    November 5, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    My inspiration came when I saw a similar cast iron pan sitting on the stove of a friend's kitchen. The pan looks very old, like something that has been passed down for generations. But the surface is so smooth and certainly stick-free; I could not keep my hand off it. I want my pans to take on that look some day.

  • Reply
    November 5, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    Thanks for liking what I posted.

  • Reply
    November 5, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    This one was definitely an winner. Your gratin looks fabulous in the cast-iron skillet. And I loved the history lesson.
    I have never been successful getting a good non-stick patina on my cast-iron skillet, no matter how often I've followed the instructions. When I make frittata, the eggs always stick to the pan. Grrr!

  • Reply
    Natascha Beutner
    November 6, 2016 at 9:57 am

    What a great idea to use the cast iron pan! Yowza, your potatoes look so yummmmmy!

  • Reply
    KB from Prof Who Cooks
    November 6, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    Beautiful! This dish was so good, right? I love how relatively easy it is to put together. It is exactly why I chose it as the first recipe for the month! Thanks also for the further information about cast-iron. I knew a lot of it, but it was nice to see it all synthesize together.

  • Reply
    November 7, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Your pick for the month is just perfect.

  • Reply
    November 7, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    These days, the cast iron pans are seasoned when sold, which make them more non-stick.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2016 at 12:42 am

    That looks gorgeous in your cast iron pan! I need to invest in a larger one that I have, so that I can use it for recipes like this one. That said, I love the cast iron pan I do have!

  • Reply
    lisa brown
    November 16, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Your dish looks great, I love the information on the iron pan- thank you!

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