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|