Margot of Coffee 'n Vanilla hosts this month #Inheritance Recipes challenge. The theme is Back to School. Here is the link: Inheritance Recipes Challenge is "back to school".
If I have to look the past in the eye, back to school never brought a lot of excitement. As a kid, it meant the end of perfect days: reading and day dreaming. In my teaching days, September brought a sense of panic and the default mode was work 24/7, not much time to think about "what's for dinner?"
When food becomes sustenance only, some turn to sandwiches or grab the first thing they see in the fridge. I make Smash, we all have a little vice. This one comes from my younger days, leaving with an invisible dad and an omnipresent mother who could not boil water without letting it burn but she had perfected instant mash potato.
Though when my dad made an appearance at the week-end, he cooked a few dishes extremely well: his infamous Tarte Tatin and a mean Gratin Dauphinois and when I think back to the Septembers of my childhood, that's the dish I associate them with.
It's a decadent dish which is slightly more complicated than it looks. So here are a few tips
The potatoes needs to be sliced really thinly, dad used a food processor. It takes a long time to cook. Start it at 210C for 15 minutes and reduce the oven to 180C for another 40 minutes.
It has got to be cream, may be not a litre of liquid cream as my father insisted on using, probably 200gr of thick cream fraiche cut with milk will suffice, double cream works well too.
In my view a good gratin Dauphinois is one which will keep the horror of going back to work or school and the vampires away. Wipe the side and the base of the baking plate with garlic gloves and press some more garlic in between the layers
Don't hold back the pepper either.
My mum in her strange cooking ways, pre-cooks hers long in advance, uses gruyere between the layers and re-heats it. I am certain that she never read the Larousse Gastronomique but that the way it recommends with a layer at the top and one at the bottom.
4 large potatoes
2 cloves of garlic
250g of cream
1 small glass of milk
salt and a little more pepper than your usual
method: serves 4
- peel and slice the potatoes, the trick is to slice them with the food-processor so that the slices are very very thin and you can see through
- rub garlic on the bottom of the oven-proof dish and its side
- place a layer of slices in dish, top with cream and a little milk salt, pepper, crushed garlic
- renew the operation until you run out of slices, every couple of layers add the garlic
A Coffee 'n Vanilla and Pebble Soup Challenge