Sunday, January 13, 2008

Potato Gratin with Gruyere Cheese

The past couple weeks have been challenging but incredibly fulfilling. I have discovered the wonders of a professional kitchen and the many, many differences between cooking for family or friends and cooking for a paying customer. I have to say I'm not quite used to the hectic rythm of kitchen life. I wake up every morning with aching muscles and tired fingers which are discovering the joys of using a chef's knife for several hours a day. That being said, I can't wait to go back every day.

Last week, we dedicated a whole day to learning how to cook several classic French dishes using potatoes. Potato gratin (or gratin dauphinois) was a pleasure to make. My mom has been making this dish for years as a sunday lunch ritual so making it under the guidance of a chef only helped to increase my love for the dish. It's really easy to put together and is, in my mind, the ultimate comfort food. You can also infuse the milk and cream mixture with a sprig of thyme and some fresh rosemary for extra flavor.


Recipe (for 4)
125 ml of milk
125 ml of heavy cream
A knob of butter
1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
2 Idaho patatoes cut in sliced (about 1/8 inch)
1/2 garlic clove
25 grams of grated gruyere cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Take an oven-proof pan and rub 1/2 clove of garlic on the bottom and sides. Place on medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the milk, cream and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and place the slices of potato evenly throughout the pan you should first create an even layer of potatoes at the bottom of the pan, and then layer the slices on top). Season with salt and pepper. Leave to simmer for 3 to 4 minutes stirring carefully to make sure that the potatoes are evenly coated with the milk and cream mixture. Add the gruyere cheese evenly on top of the patatoes.
Cook for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top of the dish is golden brown, the potatoes are tender and the cream and milk have a thick consistency. Enjoy!

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