How to make a potato bake
What starch is never a dirty word...
With carbs taking a beating I felt it was time to celebrate the best of them, potatoes.
Not one but loads, thinly sliced and slowly baked in a rich garlic-flavoured cream. This dish is perfect cold-weather food.
The French classic is named after the Dauphine region where it is a speciality - and gratin is a culinary technique in which a dish is topped with breadcrumbs and butter or cheese and baked or finished off under a grill.
The original did not include cheese but like all good classics it has been re-interpreted over the years to include many things. There is nothing like an original and critical to the dish are the potatoes - the starchy baking variety that soak up the creamy juices during the long, slow bake.
- Butter for greasing plus 60ml (4 tbsp) extra
- 1kg baking potatoes
- 300ml full-cream milk
- 250ml (1 cup) cream
- 1 clove of garlic
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Salt and black pepper
- 200g gruyère or cheddar cheese, finely sliced, optional
- 25g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 160°C and rub the base and sides of a 2-litre casserole dish with butter. Peel and thinly slice the potatoes using a sharp knife or a mandolin.
In a small pot combine the milk, cream, garlic and nutmeg. Bring to a gentle boil, pour through a sieve and set aside.
Layer the potatoes in the dish, topping each layer with pats of butter, a light seasoning of salt and pepper, and slices of gruyère or cheddar if using.
Pour over the milk and cream mixture. Sprinkle over the Parmesan and bake for an hour.
- Replace half the potatoes with butternut, peeled and thinly sliced.
- For a less rich version, replace the cream with milk or use milk and crème fraîche.