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For me, Easter provides an excuse to make a big lunch for family and friends, and mine almost always hinges on roast leg of lamb. This year, when planning my side dishes, I was inspired by this foodpickle thread to revisit a classic from my cooking school days: pommes dauphinoise, also known as potatoes au gratin. I had to make this dish countless times over the course of my 9-months at Le Cordon Bleu in London, to the point that I could probably have made it in my sleep. It's simple but its charms are many, and I'm glad I've returned it to my table after all these years.
Many people insist on heavy cream for a gratin, but I'm loyal to the method my cooking instructors taught me, which is to use garlic-infused whole milk. With the cheese and the starch of the potatoes, the dish is rich enough, and I find that cream mutes the delicate flavor of the Gruyere and garlic. If you have a mandoline I recommend using it for this recipe. The thinner and more evenly you slice your potatoes, the more delicate -- and lovely -- the finished gratin will be.
Pommes Dauphinoise (Potatoes au Gratin)
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
- 2 cups grated Gruyere
- Salt and pepper