Au gratin dishes are the ultimate in comfort food to me. If you were wondering, ”gratin“ is of French etymology, coming from a combination of the words “gratter” (to scrape or to grate) and “gratiné” (having a crust or skin). So it’s any baked dish with a nice crust on top, usually made with bread crumbs or melted cheese. So much cheese.
For Easter dinner I bought some new potatoes in homage to spring. And then I wanted to cover them with cheese, in homage to the fact that the weather is still miserable here and it might as well be winter yet. This recipe is in essence the same as the one I made with Jerusalem artichokes last year, but with a few tweaks to reflect the season.
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Start with your potatoes, however many will fit in the dish you wish to use. Use a mandolin to slice them super thin. I prefer them thin over thick, because they cook faster, and it means I don’t have to let them cook in the pan first before putting on the cheese crust. I can put the cheese on before I bung it in the oven and I don’t have to worry about it burning. I like to give them a rinse in cold water, too, to get rid of some of the starch.
In a measuring cup, pour about 2/3 cup heavy cream. Obviously if you’re just making a small dish you can use less.
Fill it to about the 1 1/2 cup mark with milk and liberally add ground black pepper. Give that a stir.
Grate a whole heckuva lotta cheese. I have a mix here of gruyère and aged cheddar.
While you’re at it, chop up a bunch of Italian parsley.
Generously butter the dish you want to serve your potatoes in. Line the bottom with a layer of potatoes.
Sprinkle on some parsley, then some cheese.
Repeat that until you get to the top layer. Sprinkle on your parsley, then pour your milk mixture all over the whole thing.
THEN cover it with the rest of the cheese.
Pop that baby in the oven and bake until the top is crusty and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Enjoy!