• Jennine Bryant

Delicious, Comforting Potato Gratin (Naturally Gluten Free)


Guys, can we all agree that gratin is delicious? You just can’t go wrong with any sort of cheesy cream and potato combination. Especially when cheese is on top and it melts and forms that wonderful golden crust. Big. Fat. YUM. I love it and thankfully so does Dom, so we have it at least once a month as a side dish with something or other. Any excuse really.


Before I continue, I just wanted to add that you may be more familiar with this dish as “potato dauphinoise”, but either way it’s the same thing. I’m sticking with the name gratin, because it’s shorter, easier to spell, and that’s what I remember it being called when I was first introduced to this particular slice of heaven.

If you live in Zurich, or happen to be planning a trip to Zurich when the pandemic is under control - please go to the restaurant Au Gratin. It is absolutely wonderful, one of my all time favourite restaurants and definitely in the top 10 list of things I miss most about living in Zurich (obviously seeing my nieces comes top of the list). As you’ve probably already guessed from the name, Au Gratin serves a wide variety of types of gratin, as well as the menu clearly stating the allergy information on each dish. There was a lot of choice for those who need to follow a gluten free diet, which, when I was living there was pretty rare for Zurich. Perhaps things have improved now. Either way, it was fab. I think they did vegan gratin too, but don’t hold me to that.


Just before Covid-19 hit us, I actually tried to take Dom to Au Gratin. This was March 2020. We went into Zurich for the day and stopped by the restaurant at lunchtime to book a table for dinner. I was so excited. At 5:30 we rocked up to Au Gratin to find a sign on the door saying it had closed. The pandemic lockdown measures hit pretty fast in Zurich, I can tell you. I was pretty heartbroken, though I’ll be honest, my grief was soothed somewhat by Laderach selling everything off at half price just around the corner. (For those who don’t know their Swiss chocolate, Laderach is incredible and also a ‘must try’ food when in Zurich. They have these massive slabs of chocolate all stacked up for you to drool at. Amazing).


Right, back to the gratin recipe. The trouble I had with putting this together, was that I don’t think I have ever measured anything when making gratin, I just throw it all together and guess at quantities, which has never failed me. So, I know this is terrible to say when I am giving you a recipe to follow, but trust your instincts with this one. I’ve done my best to put together the most accurate measurements I can, however, if you have a different oven, different potatoes or even a different shaped or sized dish, things might need to be tweaked. It’s definitely worth it though to hone the dish to your exact specifications, because it's insanely delicious.



Things to remember when making gratin:


Firstly, you must peel your potatoes and then slice them as thinly as you can. Some cheese graters have a slicer on the side which you can use, though I prefer to do it by hand with a sharp knife.

Secondly, take the time to properly lay out the potato slices by hand. I know it can seem time consuming, but its just so much better to have even layers than big clumps of potato that haven’t been properly separated.


Thirdly, mix up your cheese selection! My favourites are gruyere or cheddar, they both melt wonderfully and taste incredible, but perhaps you have a different favourite cheese that would be worth trying? Either way, I recommend having a layer of cheese in the middle of the potatoes as well as on top. You can never have enough cheese, right?! I bet this would also work well with vegan cheese, which I have yet to try. Actually, I am really conscious of my cheese use, as the dairy industry is pretty atrocious. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to find any good melty vegan cheese to try up in rural Cumbria. If anyone has any recommendations, do let me know!


Finally, it’s SO important to make sure you cover the gratin with foil - the potatoes take a while to cook and you don’t want the cheese on top to burn, so make sure to cover it tightly and only remove the foil when the potatoes are soft and can easily be pierced with a knife!


So, with that out of the way, here we go.


Delicious, Comforting Potato Gratin (naturally gluten free)


Feeds 4

Prep time 10 mins

Cook time: 1hr 30mins


Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1 tbsp Olive oil

  • 700 -750g floury potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (this amount is somewhat dependent on the baking dish you use, but as a general rule of thumb make sure you’ve got enough to fill the oven dish to at least 2 inch depth)

  • 35g butter

  • Salt&pepper

  • 1/2 tsp thyme

  • 1/4 tsp granulated garlic

  • 100g Cheddar cheese (or gruyere), grated

  • 150g Double cream

  • Kitchen foil

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 180°c (200°c for a conventional oven)

2.) Using a glass or ceramic oven dish, add a tablespoon of olive oil and then smear it around the dish using the clove of garlic. Make sure the dish is well coated. The clove of garlic will add a lovely garlicky hint to the oil.

3.) Peel and thinly slice your potatoes into rounds. These should be as thin as you can make them - you’ll need a good, sharp knife for this. Alternatively, a lot of cheese graters have a slicer on one of the sides which you can use. Put the potato slices into a bowl.

4.) Melt the butter either in the microwave or on the hob, and then pour in over the potatoes in the bowl. Add the garlic granules, thyme, salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly to make sure the potato slices are well coated. I tend to do this by hand.

5.) Now, layer the potato slices into the prepared oven dish. Try to keep the layering fairly flat and even.

6.) If you want to, you can stop about half way through and add a small layer of cheese - it’s up to you!

7.) Once all the potatoes are layered up in the dish, top with the grated cheese, then gently pour the cream over the top, making sure to pour it evenly across the dish.

8.) Cover the dish with foil and put it in the oven for an hour.

9.) After an hour, take the foil off and, using a knife, stab the potatoes to see that they are soft. If they are still slightly hard, give them another 15 minutes with the foil covered and then check once again. When the potatoes are soft, leave the foil off and let the cheese on top finish browning off for 10 - 15 minutes.

10.) Take out of the oven and serve!

You can add different things to this if you want, some great additions are sweet potato, butternut squash, onions, bacon etc. If you make this recipe, do post it and tag me so I can see your amazing creations. Most of all, enjoy!


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