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Old-Fashioned Potato Gratin

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  • 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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