Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Potatoes Gratin

I made this dish for the first time a little over a month ago and I've been making it ever since. If you try it, I promise you'll fall under the same spell. I never knew potatoes gratin could be so simple! If I had a mandolin to cut the potatoes it would be even easier - hint, hint!

This is all you need - four medium-large yellow potatoes, a little over 3 tablespoons butter, some garlic, 1 cup whole milk, kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and some fresh herbs if you have them.

First butter a baking dish - either a 9x12 gratin dish or a 9x13 pan. I really like garlic, so you can also press a garlic clove and rub it on the inside of the dish before buttering it. I definitely recommend this step!

Now peel your 4 potatoes. As you can see, I have 3 large ones and one tiny one. In retrospect I probably just needed the 3 big ones. You must use yellow potatoes, not russets or some other white potatoes. The yellow potatoes keep their texture, but white potatoes fall apart. Ick.

I bought my peeler for $5 from a man who sold them on the side of the Union Square farmers market. It certainly does the trick. And I'm not at all handy enough with a knife to attempt it without a peeler.

Now cut your potatoes as thin as you can manage and layer them like shingles around the dish - make sure they are slightly overlapping.

Here is what my first layer looked like.

Now add some kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

I also decided to add some more pressed garlic to this layer. Like I said, we love the garlic in our house. If you have some fresh herbs, dice them up, and add them here.

Now add another layer of potatoes. You want two layers of potatoes - three is a little too many in my opinion.

Now add more salt and pepper to the top. Potatoes need some serious salt and pepper.

Now pour 1 cup of milk on top. I use whole milk in this recipe and it always works great. Please don't use skim.

This is what it will look like when you've added your cup of milk. You can add a little bit more than a cup - the milk should come up to the bottom of the top layer of potatoes. If you add too much milk, the dish will not come together at all. Trust me, this happened to me. I probably added 2 cups. Oops.

Now add 3 tablespoons of butter cut into pieces to the top. If you want, instead of adding the butter and milk you can simply use 1 cup of cream. This works great too. Now put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 mins - 1 hour. You will want to take it out halfway through to press the middle down with a spatula to moisten the top potatoes. Your potatoes gratin will be done when the potatoes are soft and the top is brown. I usually steal one of the top potatoes to make sure it is cooked.

Here is what your yummy, gooey potatoes will look like when they are done. Wasn't that simple? Requires almost no ingredients and will blow you and your guests away.

This was Part II of my labor of love dinner for our anniversary last night. I sure love my husband, don't I?

Potatoes Gratin
4 medium-large yellow potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons butter, plus more for dish
Optionally, 1-2 cloves garlic
Optionally, fresh diced herbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Press a clove of garlic into a 9x12 gratin dish and then butter the dish. Peel and slice thinly 4 medium-large yellow potatoes. Layer the potato slices in the dish, overlapping them. Once one layer is done, sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add fresh herbs and pressed garlic, if desired. Make another layer of potatoes and top with kosher salt and pepper. Pour on top 1 cup of milk and top potatoes with 3 tablespoons of butter, cut up. If desired, use 1 cup of cream instead of milk and butter. Place dish in a 350 degree oven for 45 mins - 1 hour. Halfway through, take out the dish and press the middle with a spatula to moisten the middle potatoes. The dish will have a browned top layer when done.


  1. funny, i made this last night too!

  2. I just got a mandolin. I'll have to try this!

  3. Hi, I just found your blog (I try to press "Next blog" from my blog every once in a while to find new people). I KNOW my husband will love this potato recipe. Can't wait to try it!

  4. What kind of "fresh herbs" do you suggest? I can only follow recipes. I can't make stuff up here. Please advise:)

  5. I have used fresh chives and parsley before. Both of those worked great. I don't think cilantro would go very well, but basil might be okay.


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