My mother often made Gratin Dauphinois for us when I was a child, as a hearty side dish to some delicious meaty Sunday main. I looked forward to this very much, and still do, as I absolutely adore this warm and creamy potato gratin, the bottom potatoes melting in my mouth, the cheesy top having gotten crunchy and crispy under the grill and the nutmeg adding its distinctive nutty aroma.
I still make it myself, sometimes simply because I’m in the mood for it or if I cook for a large enough number of people, as it is a very satisfying dish which to be honest doesn’t really take that much preparation time. However, I’ve played around with it a little to make it a bit healthier: my main trick is to use sweet potatoes as well as classic, white potatoes, which gives this old French classic a new twist – as well as a higher dose in vitamin A and a lower calorie count.
In any case, this dish really is a wonderful side dish and scrummy comfort food, perfect for Sunday lunch, dinner party or a cosy Sunday evening. A must-try!
2 sweet potatoes, washed and peeled
2 potatoes, washed and peeled
150 ml crème fraiche or double cream
1 tsp of nutmeg
50g cheese (English cheddar or French comté, for example), grated
1. Preheat oven to 180° celsius.
2. Chop potato and sweet potato into even slices, not too thick. Wash the starch off the potatoes, then put them in a bowl with the crème fraiche or double cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix them well, covering all slices evenly.
3. Take an ovenproof dish and butter the sides. Layer alternate slices of potato and sweet potato inside the dish, covering with the rest of the cream. Place the grated cheese on top of the potatoes.
4. Put the dish in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces the potatoes and the top is well gratiné (browned in the oven).
5. Serve as a side dish or as a main with a side salad or vegetables on the side.