Potato Gratin Savoyard
As I snapped a quick film of this Potato Gratin Savoyard coming out of the oven on my daily disappearing Instagram stories, my friend Linda asked if I’d post the recipe. “Of course!” I said, then promised myself to make it again to produce photos. I made it again, then again and each time failed miserably to take a decent shot of it. Late nights, winter lighting, and an impatient family who can smell a gratin in the oven like crunchy cheese predators are all top reasons for quick snaps. Then took cold feet to post this on the site. But here it is – voilà! You shall just have to imagine the most sumptuous mouth-watering gratin photos. At least the recipe is what matters! Although it looks like a winter dish, this is great served at any time of year with roast meats – I love serving this with a roasted chicken from the local market.
According to my Larousse Gastronomique (French culinary dictionary), a gratin is a family dish, brought to the table directly from the oven. While it’s still bubbling hot and set down ready to serve, all eyes in our household are on the top crusty layer of cheese. Heaven forbid if I miss out one rightful spoonful of the topping for one person. It never fails to surprise me at the end, just how much Antoine and the girls are always willing to fight over who gets to scrape up the last pieces of crunchy remnants that stick to the dish. I mean, are my portions that small?
Over the years, I have been making this family favourite gratin, inspired by my now tattered and loved-to-bits French table recipe book by the Scotto sisters (edited by Gilles Pudlowski): France The Beautiful Cookbook. Not to be confused by the rich, double-creamed Gratin Dauphinois, THIS GRATIN has NO CREAM or MILK in it. If you prefer the double creamy version, then I invite you to check out Felicity Cloake’s quest in the Guardian of how to make the perfect Gratin Dauphinois.
Meanwhile, that’s why we love this gratin so much: it’s quite simply layers of extra thinly-sliced potato, interspersed lightly with grated cheese and before whacking it in the oven, chicken stock is quickly poured over it so that while baking, the gratin cooks itself in the juices without having any problems of curdling cream or, indeed, worrying about our arteries! A lovely tip from Raymond Blanc is to rub the gratin dish first with a garlic clove, but instead I top the potato layers with finely sliced onions (here I used 2 small red onions) that have also been sliced after the potatoes in a food processor using the slicer attachment, so all quick to make.