Monday, 15 November 2010

D is for... Dauphinoise potatoes


Dauphinoise potatoes

I love potatoes. Mashed, roasted, baked or chipped. The versatility of potatoes - my desert island vegetable  - means they go with almost anything, can be comforting and homely or posh and sophisticated and can even be used to make delicious chocolate cakes. Yes, really. As you may have gathered by now, I have a particular fondness for gratinated potato and, as far as I'm concerned, dauphinoise deserve to be crowned king of the gratin. Meltingly indulgent, dauphinoise make for an oozing, garlicky creamy spoonful of heaven. They'll turn any day into a winner and tick the boxes for both comfort and decadence in thick, indelible ink. I really love dauphinoise potatoes.

1 kilo of potatoes (I used Desirees - what with it being D night - but King Edwards or Maris Pipers work wonderfully too)
Either 300 ml single cream or half and half with double cream and whole milk
Butter for greasing and blobbing
4 - 6 crushed garlic cloves
salt and pepper
Gruyere cheese, grated (optional)

Preheat your oven to 180 C (160 C Fan)

Peel all the potatoes and finely slice them - this will be the work of seconds with a magimix. Once sliced, either rinse the spuds in a collander or chuck them in a large bowl of cold water to rinse off the excess starch. Once thoroughly rinsed, dry your potato slices in a clean tea towel.

Butter the inside of a large gratin (lasagne) dish and line with a single layer of potatoes. Generously season with salt and pepper, scatter over some crushed garlic and a few small blobs of butter. Keep layering up the potatoes in this way until you've used all the potatoes up or until your dish is almost full, missing out the crushed garlic on the top layer. Pour over the cream until the potatoes are just covered and scatter the top with your Gruyere. The argument for whether or not dauphnoise should or shouldn't contain cheese is as long as the recipe is old. Some like a layer of cheese between each layer and some believe the authenticity of the dish is tainted if you use any cheese at all. I personally like a cheesy crust, but find it all a bit much if the cheese runs all the way through. You can do as you please. They're your spuds, so it's your call.

Pop the dish in your preheated oven for about an hour, or until the potatoes are soft all the way through (just give them a prod with a skewer) and nicely browned and bubbling on top. Delicious.

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