I have a fondness for potatoes. For some, starchy comfort goodness is gained by enjoying rice or noodles. But, being of European descent, I look forward to potatoes alongside a meal. In this case a rich gratin with thyme and Gruyere.
Gratin Dauphinois is a French casserole of raw sliced potatoes that are combined with cream in layers and then slowly baked before finishing in a hot oven to brown. This differs from other potato gratins including the American “scalloped “ dish that start with boiled potatoes rather than raw slices.
Purist would say that cheese has no place in a true Gratin Dauphinois, but it is a welcomed common addition. Julia Child adds Swiss cheese and Eric Ripert’s version, upon which this preparation is based, calls for Gruyere cheese.
If a mandoline is available, preparation of Gratin Dauphinois is quick and simple. Knife slicing the potatoes can be tedious for all but those with exceptional knife skills. A mandoline makes quick work of task.
The potatoes are peeled sliced crossways in to 1/8” rounds. Peeling the potatoes is not an essential step. Some may prefer to retain the nutrients of the peel and serve a more rustic presentation.
Plan on approximately one large potato for two persons. The rest of the ingredients are approximate and quantities can be easily adjusted depending on the size of the casserole. The recipe is sized for a dish that will feed three, or four. Enjoy!
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Parchment paper
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 2 large Russet potatoes, peeled, sliced into 1/8” thick rounds and placed into a bowl of cold water until ready to use.
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves plus extra for garnish
- 1/2 cup of grated Gruyere cheese
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
- Drain the potatoes and toss with salt and black pepper to taste
- Cut parchment paper so it fits into the bottom of a small casserole dish or iron skillet.
- Grease sides of the baking dish with butter and place the parchment paper into the bottom.
- Place an overlapping layer of sliced potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the garlic, thyme and cheese. Repeat the process for three more layers
- Pour heavy cream over the layered potatoes so that it is level, but not covering the top layer of potatoes. Dot the casserole with butter.
- Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Test for doneness by inserting the tip of the knife. The potatoes should be soft with a very slight resistance.
- Remove the foil and run under the broiler until browned.
- To serve, the potatoes are sliced into portions and garnished with thyme. Optionally, the potatoes can be sliced with a 2-1/2” ring and served as rounds.