The trick to a good potato gratin recipe is to put the potatoes into the cream as you cut them. The cream will keep the cut potatoes from oxidizing―turning brown―without washing off the potato’s starch. The starch helps to thicken the cream and hold the potatoes together when cooked. I love the Parmesan cheese and thyme in these potatoes, but I’ll sometimes change it up with Gruyère and a little roasted garlic. You can make this gratin ahead of time and reheat it, covered with foil, in a low oven.–Louis Lambert and June Naylor
What's the Difference Between Scalloped and Potatoes au Gratin?
Ever get scalloped and gratin confused? Well, perhaps this might help: Scalloped potatoes contain milk or cream and are usually sliced thicker. Potatoes au gratin are similar but are usually sliced thinner and always contain cheese. Classically, it was Gruyère, but nowadays any grate-able fromage will do. Now, guess which version one we prefer? Exactly. And boy, do we gloat about our gratin ever since finding this recipe.
Parmesan Potato Gratin Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 2 H
- Serves 8 to 10
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled
- 1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°). Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish or a 3-quart Dutch oven with 1 tablespoon butter.
- 2. In a large bowl, combine the cream, 3/4 cup Parmesan, salt, white pepper, thyme, and nutmeg.
- 3. Evenly slice the potatoes 1/8-inch thick and place in the bowl with the seasoned cream, stirring to coat the potatoes. Arrange the potato slices in the casserole dish, overlapping them like shingles on a roof if you want, or just dump them in and smash them down with the back of a spoon. Pour the cream mixture remaining in the bowl evenly over the potatoes; the cream should come almost to the top layer of potatoes. Press down on the potatoes with the back of a spoon to evenly nestle them into the cream.
- 4. Sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan over the potatoes and then dot the top of the cheese with small pieces of the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Bake the gratin, uncovered, in the middle of the oven until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let the gratin rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving. (If you want to reheat the gratin, cover the dish with foil and place in 275°F (135°C) oven for 40 to 45 minutes—or longer if you need to buy yourself a little time to get the rest of dinner on the table.)
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