There are countless variations on the potato gratin. You can boil the potatoes in water or milk. You can use broth instead of cream. You can even forgo the cheese (but why?). Experiment, and you’ll be sure to find your own signature twist on your potato gratin. This recipe is a little decadent because I rely on heavy cream, but it’s worth the splurge. A mandoline makes child’s play out of slicing the potatoes. Beware of those who cannot resist the golden, crispy top layer—my wife has a tendency to nibble off the top before the gratin ever makes it to the table.–Frank Stitt
LC Potato Gratin Is Potato Gratin Is Potato Gratin...Or Is It? Note
To some, potato gratins are all pretty much the same. We beg to differ. There’s quite the luscious art to slicing the potatoes just so, to finding just the perfect proportion of heavy cream to cheese, to deciding to not bother with broth or milk, to ensuring the crust on the gratin turns just the perfect shade of irresistible golden brown. In our opinion, this ineffably indulgent version defines the very term.
Old-Fashioned Potato Gratin Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 1 H, 45 M
- Serves 6
- 4 russet potatoes
- 1 garlic clove, crushed and peeled
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Comté cheese (or substitute Gruyère or Asiago)
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (176° C). Adjust the oven rack to the top position.
- 2. Peel the potatoes and slice them crosswise about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Place the potato slices in a bowl of cold water so they don’t discolor.
- 3. Meanwhile, firmly rub the garlic clove all over the bottom and sides of a 10-inch gratin dish to coat it with the garlic juices. Allow to dry for a few minutes, then rub the bottom and sides of the dish with the butter.
- 4. Drain the potatoes and pat them dry. Arrange a layer of potatoes in a slightly overlapping fashion, like a splayed deck of cards, in the bottom of the gratin dish. Season with a good dash of salt and pepper and a little of each of the two cheeses. Continue layering the potatoes and cheese in this fashion, seasoning each layer and finishing with the cheese (you should have at least three layers). Drizzle the cream along the sides of the dish, so as not to displace the cheese.
- 5. Place the potato gratin, uncovered, on the top rack and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until the cream has been absorbed and the top is crispy and golden. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
In Advance Advice
- The peeled potatoes can sit, submerged in cold water, on the counter for a few hours. You can also assemble the gratin, cover it, and refrigerate it for anywhere from a few hours to overnight before baking.
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Testers ChoiceTesters Choice
Dec 15, 2010
This old-fashioned potato gratin is about as basic as it gets. It also looks as good as it tastes. It’s easy to prepare, sets up perfectly, and has just the right amount of cheesy goodness. It’s difficult to resist tasting before it leaves the kitchen, but your presentation of this attractive dish will suffer for it if you do. If you want to avoid the possibility of spillage, you can add the cream just before adding the salt, pepper, and cheese to the top of your final layer. The four russets I used weighed about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds total. Using them, this recipe fit my 10-inch gratin dish perfectly.
Dec 15, 2010
What’s not to love about this recipe? It’s easy, delicious, and just plain good-looking! There’s nothing complicated about this, which makes it perfect for a dinner party or holiday table. Into the oven and, an hour or so later, out comes perfection—a crisp, delectable cheese topping over creamy potato slices. What I really love about this is the potato slices don’t turn into mushy potatoes, but rather hold their shape and delicate taste.
Old-Fashioned Potato Gratin Recipe © 2004 Frank Stitt. Photo © 2004 Christopher Hirsheimer. All rights reserved.