For years I have been trying different recipes for potatoes au gratin or scalloped potatoes. Always looking for that rich and creamy texture and it never really worked out the way I wanted it. Until one day I was watching Jacques Pépin on PBS, dedicating an entire show to potatoes. I forgot most of what he did, but his recipe for potatoes au gratin has stuck and has become the go-to recipe whenever I’m craving this dish.
Pépin says, the recipe is from his own mother and it exists in a couple of varieties depending on how rich you want to go. You can either use all milk (I even made it with 2% milk once and it was still as creamy and rich as I like it) or add heavy cream. You can go without cheese or sprinkle some grated cheese on top (my favorite is Gruyère, but I usually like it without any cheese added).
It makes a fantastic side for steaks and all kinds of dark meats. But it’s also delicious by itself with a little side salad.
Potatoes au Gratin
1.5 lbs / 700g Yukon Gold Potatoes*
2 cups / 480ml Whole Milk
1 cup / 240ml Heavy Cream
2 – 3 cloves of Garlic, minced
1/4 tsp Nutmeg, freshly grated
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/2 cup / 50g Gruyère, shredded
- Peel the potatoes and use either a mandolin or a knife to cut them into thin (~2mm) slices. Do not wash the potatoes, instead, put them right into a heavy saucepan.
- Preheat your oven to 375° Fahrenheit.
- Add the milk to the potatoes, stir in garlic and spices and bring to a boil. Use a wooden spoon to stir gently to separate the slices and to make sure nothing is scorching. As the milk comes to a boil it should start to thicken from the potato starch.
- Once the milk has come to a boil, transfer everything into an oven-proof dish, I like to use a pretty shallow one to get a maximum crust on top. You can arrange the potatoes nicely in the dish or just pour them in, flavor-wise there’s no difference.
- Top the potatoes with heavy cream (milk works just as well), sprinkle on the cheese (if using), and put the dish into the oven.
- Bake until the potatoes are tender, most of the liquid is absorbed, and the top is golden and bubbly. That takes about 1 hour.
- Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.