This is potatoes au gratin with class. I am no fan of the melted-Cheddar-topped potato gratins the steakhouses serve, popular though they may be. This French classic gets all the same things accomplished with a much better flavor. Make more than you think you’ll need, because people always want seconds of this. And the refrigerated leftovers are easily resuscitated by a little microwaving.
- 4 large potatoes (about three pounds), peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 3 large cloves garlic
- 8 oz. Gruyere cheese, shredded
- 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 pint whipping cream
- 2 egg yolks
- White pepper
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and drop the potatoes into it. Cook for five minutes. Drain and cool.
2. Crush the garlic cloves, and use them to wipe the inside of a 12-by-8-inch glass baking dish. Discard what’s left of the garlic.
3. Layer the potato slices all the way across the bottom of the dish, sprinkling the cheeses and a little salt and white pepper between the layers.
4. Beat the egg yolks and mix them into the whipping cream. Pour the mixture over the potatoes. It should come up about two-third of the way to the top. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake in the oven for an hour.
5. Remove the foil. Combine the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese, and sprinkle in a thin layer over the top of the potatoes. Return, uncovered, to the oven. Continue baking until the crust browns. (If you have a convection oven, set it to convect.)
6. Remove from the oven and allow to rest and cool for at least fifteen minutes before serving.
Makes about twelve generous side portions.