Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ceci n’est pas un potato gratin

This dish looks very much like a potato gratin…but it is not, gentle reader, for it does not contain cheese in the proper manner of a gratin. It’s quite impressive visually (if I say so myself) but nowhere near as complicated to make as it looks—you just have to be a little bit anal about arranging the slices, but it honestly doesn't take longer than, like, 5, maaaybe 10 minutes to layer the potatoes.

This served 2 people with leftovers, but can easily be multiplied; if the pan is much deeper than this cake-pan-like one, plan to cook it a little longer, and cover it with foil for the first half of the cooking time.

  • Start by melting about 4 TBSP butter, and toss in some salt, pepper, and minced garlic.

  • Brush the bottom and sides of a round (or heart-shaped!) pan, 8 or 9 inches diameter, with the garlic butter. (I’ve said this before, but I strongly recommend investing in a silicone basting brush for ease of cleaning and durability.)

  • Pour a handful of bread crumbs into the pan and tilt it all around so they stick to the sides as well as coating the bottom evenly. Shake out the excess into the sink.

  • Finely chop 2 scallions. (Leeks would be good too.)

  • Thinly slice 2 large or 3 medium russet or Idaho potatoes—peeled or not, your call—ideally using a mandoline. Use caution, though, gentle reader—the mandoline is the mortal enemy of fingertips!

  • Arrange a layer of potato slices on the bottom of the pan. You want to try to use any misshapen ones here so they won’t be visible—but in general you should aim to have them hug the sides of the pan, overlapping them like dominos that have been knocked over, then repeat circling inward until the bottom is covered.

  • Brush potatoes with butter and sprinkle with scallions.

  • Repeat until you’re out of potatoes, skipping the scallions every other layer.

  • After brushing the top layer with butter, sprinkle it with a mix of grated Parmesan, bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper until covered.

  • Bake at 400° for maybe 45 minutes to an hour, until the topping is nice and browned and the potatoes have shriveled away from the sides of the pan a bit.

    Make sure you put a trivet under the pan when you bring it to the table, gentle reader, and use potholders, for it will be hot! Of course, you could plate it in the kitchen, but there would be no ta-da factor in that, now would there?


    1. OKAY LOVE THE PAN.. and looks YUMMERS

    2. i too love the pan! and I also commend the warning on the mandoline. it is an absolutely wonderful kitchen tool, and it can be treacherous as well, so pay attention when mandolining!