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Monday, November 15, 2010

Pommes Dauphinois - French Fridays with Dorie

I have an old, very easy, fall-back potato recipe that everyone loves. It's made with frozen shredded potatoes (AKA frozen hash browns), half and half, butter, and grated parmesan. The challenge for this week's recipe was to see if it could beat out the easy standby. It did. (And, by the way, it's so much better than your mother's or grandmother's floury, insipid scalloped potatoes that it's not even in the same universe).
Not that this is a difficult recipe. But there is all that potato slicing.

You could use a madeline if you had one, or you could use your food processor if you didn't think it was too much of a bother to find the slicing attachment and remember how to attach it. Or you could just slice them with a knife.

Once you've cut the potatoes and heated a lot of heavy cream with some minced garlic, all you have to do is layer. Potatoes; salt and pepper; garlic cream.

After the last layer, you can tuck some fresh rosemary and thyme sprigs in with the potatoes. Or not. Dorie seems to believe that there should not be very many rules about this dish.

On the other hand, not topping the dish with grated gruyere cheese should not be an option. Parmesan would be good too, as it is in my above-mentioned recipe, but the gruyere is quite a bit better--and the better the gruyere, the better the finished dish. I love shredding with my little Zyliss grater.

And there you have it, all ready to go into the oven. Of course, melted, browned, glisteny cheese is considerably more attractive than the pre-oven cheese.
I can't say that I'll never turn to my old standby recipe again, but these potatoes were several cuts above the original. The garlic is mellowed by its cream bath, and the herbs add subtle flavor, but aren't intrusive. The potatoes soak up the delicious cream, and the cheese! To put it mildly, the cheese is good.
Jim took one bite of these potatoes and moaned in pleasure. Everyone else at the table looked at him, and he said, defensively, "Well, they're good. Hasn't anyone else tried them yet?"


  1. I love potatoes and when they are full of cream and cheese.. well, I can relate to Jim's pleasure.

  2. Monica,
    Me too--in fact, I think there's going to be a fight over the one small portion of leftovers in the refrigerator.

  3. I agree about these potatoes, simple but oh so good. I can't wait to make them again. I actually used cheddar because that's what I had on hand but I'll try the gruyere next time.

  4. Your gratin looks terrific! I made this last night for company and next week's post...and we all swooned! Holy moly these are good!

  5. I love your gorgeous mound of grated gryuere--probably because I know how delicious that will be once melted!

  6. PattiCake,
    Nothing wrong with potatoes and cheddar--it's a great combo, but the gruyere is really something special.

    Yes! Swooning is the right word. They are delicious.

    The first time I ever heard of gruyere was from Julia Child. The only gruyere I could find back then--a LONG time ago--was processed gruyere (tasted a little like fancy Velveeta). Now I get the good stuff. And why does the good stuff always cost three times as much as the okay stuff?