There are different kinds of comfort food, some simple, some complex. This rich potato gratin is something that delivers wonders in small doses. Just a few bites of this dish should satisfy your potato cravings. It takes a half hour to prep and the cooking time means that this dish will test your nostrils long before your actual palette.
I recently posted a Crab and Corn Bisque from The Domaine Chandon Cookbook and I mentioned that this soup deserved equally elegant dishes for the rest of the meal. This is one of those dishes, and from that same cookbook. The flavor is smooth, mellow, and just perfectly satisfying.
I’ve written the recipe below almost exactly as it appears in the cookbook, with one major change. I did add corn to my gratin, for flavor, color and because I had corn hanging around in my freezer and I was getting irritated with it. That said, the corn was a great addition.
The cheese amounts here are modest. You can increase any or all of them. Dividing ½ cup of the Havarti into four parts, and truly covering the potato layers each time, is a bit of a challenge.
The original cooking time was written as 45-50 minutes. I needed a full 85 minutes to get potatoes that were really cooked and not “chewy.” I sliced the potatoes by hand and did not use a mandolin. Why? I like my fingerprints. I’m terrified of mandolins. I don’t know if my “thicker” slices were the only reason for the longer cooking time, but I really did not mind. I had an open bottle of wine and time to wait. There are times to rush in life and then there are times to watch the sun going down.
Three-Cheese Potato Gratin
Yield: serves 4 as main course, 6-8 as a side dish
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 3 pounds white potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
- ½ cup fresh shredded Havarti cheese
- 1 cup corn kernels [optional]
- ¼ cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with the butter.
In a bowl, whisk together the cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg. On the bottom of the prepared dish, p0lace one-fourth of the potato slices in a layer about ¼ inch thick. Top with one fourth of corn. Pour in ½ cup of the cream mixture. Sprinkle with one fourth of the Havarti cheese.
Repeat to make three more layers of potatoes, corn, cream and Havarti.
Sprinkle the top layer with Gruyere and Parmesan cheese as well.
Bake until the potatoes are tender and the top is bubbly and golden brown, 45 to 90 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the gratin to firm up. Serve warm.