The Best Potato Dish, Ever

Regine asked me what I serve with a beef roast. This rich and wonderful gratin is the answer. It's a tweak on a Jacques Pepin recipe that I absolutely love. It's great for a party because it can be done ahead of time, and the timing is very forgiving; you can pull it out of the oven and serve it an hour later. It is also a great snack the next day, reheated in the microwave.

Gratin Dauphinois
* 2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced
* 3 1/2 cups of milk, cream or a mixture of the two
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* a bit of freshly grated nutmeg
* 3/4 cup coarsely grated Gruyère (or other cheese - any one will do).

  Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously butter a shallow baking dish.

  Put the potatoes into pot with the milk or cream, garlic, salt, and pepper 

and bring just to a boil. Pour the contents of the pot into the buttered baking dish, grate the nutmeg over the top and sprinkle on the cheese. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the top is browned and all the liquid has been absorbed by the potatoes. Allow this to stand for 15 minutes (or more) before serving.

  This will serve about 8 people.

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So I've learned that the night before is in fact too soon to make ahead! The top potatoes in the dish oxidized and turned gray, so I made another quick batch the morning of the party and they worked out great! As you said, it's such an easy dish to prepare so I didn't need to make it the night before. And right now, it's time for leftovers. Thanks for the recipe!

Halley and Hilary: I've made it a few hours ahead,up to the point where the grated cheese goes on, then added the cheese and thrown it in the oven at the last minute. (Once baked it's good for a couple of hours too.) But I've never tried making it a day or two ahead.

To clarify on the making ahead... make it up to the point where it goes in the oven and it can keep for a day or two? Then throw it in the oven day-of the party?

I'd really love to make this for a dinner party I'm hosting for 20 (eek!) on Saturday. How far in advance can/should I make it?

Regine: By all means, add bacon. But if I were you I'd make it a day or two ahead - it improves with age - and add the bacon just before serving so it doesn't get soggy. Aunt Birdie would approve!

I promise not to be a blog pest. Since I'm German I was asked to bring potato salad for 25 to a neighborhood Novemberfest. Thought I'd quadruple Aunt Birdie's and, just for the occasion name it Slightly German Potato Salad. Wonderfully subtle, as is. But I am tempted to add crumbled up bacon for the event. Would that be a travesty?

Regine Ibold

This is the strangest thing I've ever experienced. When I look at it on my "preview" the entire recipe is there. But I can't seem to get it all into print, no matter what I do.

I'm trying again, erasing the whole recipe and starting all over. And crossing my fingers!

Yes - potatoes and the rest of the instructions!

Ruth, you left off the potatoes from the recipe!

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Where am I eating? What's for dinner tonight? And what books have I been reading? For a look at what's going on in my life lately, take a look at this journal, which I try to update on a regular basis.