Potato gratin in August? I know most of the country wouldn't dream of turning on their oven for an hour in the heat of summer, but we happened to have a cool Sunday recently and a 3-lb beef roast in the freezer that needed cooking. What better accompaniment than potato gratin?
This recipe has been my go-to for years but it never had its own post. Now it does. Even Baby Girl loved these and kept asking for more, completely ignoring everything else on her plate. This is a super simple recipe, but the flavors are outstanding. Cream? Check. Butter? Check. Potatoes? Check. The hint of garlic adds just the right flavor to the potatoes, but I'm sure a sprig or two of thyme and/or rosemary would also be outstanding. I used those two herbs to flavor the meat so I left them out of the gratin. I used to cut the potatoes on my mandoline, but this time I found it easier to just slice them with a knife. And it's safer for the hands.
William-Sonoma Potato Cookbook
2 large cloves garlic, 1 halved and 1 minced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pinches of freshly grated nutmeg
5 russet potatoes (about 2 1/2 lbs)
Grated Pecorino cheese, optional
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Rub an 8-inch square baking dish with the cut sides of the garlic halves and discard the halves. Coat the inside of the dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter.
In a large pot, combine the milk, cream, minced garlic, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, nutmeg and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Peel 1 of the potatoes and cut it into thin slices. Add the potato slices to the milk mixture. Repeat with remaining potatoes. Bring the milk mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cover and cook for 3 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to the prepared dish, arranging the top layer of potatoes in an overlapping pattern, if desired. Pour all of the milk mixture over the potatoes. Cover the dish with buttered aluminum foil, buttered side down.
Bake the gratin for 40 minutes, then uncover, grate cheese over the top and bake until the potatoes are tender, the liquid bubbles thickly and the top is brown and crusty, about 20 minutes longer. Remove from the oven, let stand for 10 minutes, then serve.