Potatoes au Gratin

Story by Natalie
Potatoes au Gratin
Tap any image to pin it.

Oh, hello holidays. You’re officially here, which means all the talk of menu planning, tradition, and of course cheesy potatoes au gratin can begin. It’s no secret to those who know me that I’m a big (read HUGE) potato fan. Whenever they make an appearance on any table I’m the first to go for a scoop (or three).  

Second only to the egg, the humble potato may just be my favorite ingredient to work with. But, the thing about potatoes is that they are not always good. In fact they can actually be really bad and really easy to screw up. True story, twice now I’ve had to hold back tears on Thanksgiving Day when the those assigned to mashed potatoes arrived with a sticky mess of overbeaten starch. But, enough about mashed potatoes. Today I’m talking about potatoes au gratin, or as you may know them, scalloped potatoes, the richer, silkier, sexier version of holiday potatoes.

When I decided I wanted to share a recipe for this classic dish, I thought long and hard about what my spin on it would be. Holly and my goal is always that if you bring a TMP dish to a gathering ”oooos” and “aaaaahs” will follow. We aim to wow. In the end though, I realized that thanks to some amazing cooks who have gone before me and been my teachers over the years, I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel when it came to this dish. The artful craft of Ina Garten’s potatoes au gratin, the cheesy goodness of Paula Dean’s scalloped potatoes, and of course the classic au gratin from the Queen of Holiday’s, (Martha Stewart herself) are hard to beat. So I’m not here to do that. I’m here to make your life a little easier and save you the trouble of all that extra research and taste testing, by offering you the simplest classic au gratin potato recipe filled with cheese and love that is just about impossible to screw up.

Potatoes au Gratin

So, how do you accomplish this incredibly simple and tasty classic au gratin? Well, for starters a good mandolin helps A LOT. I’m a sucker for a good emoji, so I’m the girl with the hand over her face when I say I only JUST bought a mandolin. Holy game changer Batman. My only regret is not buying it sooner. Uniform potato slices means predictable cook time, which is key when you’ve got other dishes fighting for oven space and you don’t want to end up with half of your potatoes mushy and the other half crunchy. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Next, good quality cheese is a must. I went with gruyere and parm, a perfect match if you ask me, especially when a pinch of nutmeg is involved. Then of course comes butter, heavy cream, and a few other odds and ends. And that’s it. See? Easy. Once everything comes together the result is a beautiful and delicious dish worthy of gracing any holiday table. I may not have bent over backwards to provide the world’s most unique recipe, but I did gain a few pounds testing out the perfect au gratin dish to share with you, so you’re welcome. Now go make these heavenly cheesy potatoes and thank me when you’re done.

Potatoes au Gratin

Serves 8

Ingredients

2.5 lbs russet potatoes, peeled
4 tbsp butter, separated
6 oz gruyere, grated
2 oz parmesan, grated
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a small sauce pan add heavy cream, garlic, nutmeg and 3 tbsp of the butter and set over low heat.
  3. Using a mandolin slice potatoes ⅛ inch thick and immediate place in a large bowl of cold water. Once all potatoes are sliced, rinse and pat completely dry.
  4. Using 1 tbsp of butter lightly grease a 9X13 baking dish or 12 inch circular pan.
  5. Arrange a single layer of potatoes on the bottom of the pan, lightly season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with gruyere cheese. Continue this process of layering until potatoes are all used up. (Be sure to reserve a little cheese for the top.)
  6. Slowly pour the warm cream mixture over the potatoes and gently press down on the potatoes with your hands to make sure all liquid is evenly dispersed. Sprinkle with remaining gruyere and parmesan cheese.
  7. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 50 minutes covered, remove foil and continue to bake for another 25 minutes.
  8. Top with fresh greens and serve warm.