Gratin Dauphinois – one of the great classics. The name gratin dauphinois refers to the Dauphiné region of France, where this method of preparing potatoes is a specialty.
The etymology of gratin is from the French language in which the word “gratter” meaning to”to scrape” as of the “scrapings” of bread or cheese, and gratiné, from the transitive verb form of the word for crust. The technique predates the current name which did not appear in English until 1846.
1 lb (450 g) good-quality potatoes
1 small clove garlic, crushed
5 fl oz (150 ml) double cream
5 fl oz (150 ml) milk
freshly grated nutmeg
1 oz (25 g) butter
salt and freshly milled black pepper
First, peel the potatoes and slice them very, very thinly (a wooden mandolin is excellent for this operation, if you have one), then plunge the potato slices into a bowl of cold water and swill them round and round to get rid of some of the starch. Now dry them very thoroughly in a clean tea cloth. Then in the gratin dish arrange a layer of potato slices, a sprinkling of crushed garlic, pepper and salt and then another layer of potatoes and seasoning.
Now mix the cream and milk together, pour it over the potatoes, sprinkle with a little freshly grated nutmeg, then add the butter in flecks over the surface and bake on the highest shelf in the oven for 1½ hours.