The inspiration for this rich and creamy Potato Gratin came from an episode of Jacques Pepin. Although he did not use cheese in his recipe, instead relying on the milk and cream as a base, he did mention that he sometimes added Gruyere cheese to the creamy sauce, so we included cheese in ours.
Since we did not have Gruyere on hand, we decided to try a Creamy Toscano Cheese we recently picked up at Trader Joe's. This cheese is similar to an aged Parmesan, but the cheese has been soaked in Syrah wine and is absolutely incredible. With such a bold flavor, I knew this cheese would be the perfect addition to the creamy gratin.
These potatoes do take a little extra time to prepare, and the 20 minutes of resting time after baking is very important to let the sauce pull together and thicken. Other than the extra time involved, this is a very simple side dish and with the golden brown crust on the top, you are sure to get rave reviews.
Serve with a grilled New York Strip steak and a glass of hearty red wine such as the NV Marietta Cellars Old Vine Red Lot 58 or if you are a Cabernet fan, try the 2008 Hendry HRW Cabernet Sauvignon. Enjoy!!
2 lbs Potatoes (Yukon Gold potatoes work great as they will not crumble as easily)
2-1/2 cups Milk
1 TB Minced Garlic
1-1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
6 oz Creamy Toscano Cheese (or substitute Gruyere, Parmesan, Gouda or even Monterey Jack)
1 cup Heavy Cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Peel the potatoes and slice into 1/4-inch rounds. Do not rinse the potatoes as the starch will help the sauce thicken.
In a large saucepan combine the potatoes, milk, garlic, salt and pepper and bring the mixture to a low boil, stirring gently to separate the slices and prevent the milk from scorching. The sauce will begin to thicken as it boils.
Pour the mixture into a large gratin dish, crumble the cheese over the potatoes, then drizzle the cream over the top. Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden and bubbly on top. (Test the potatoes with a fork to make sure they are fully cooked.)
Let the potatoes rest for about 20 minutes before serving. This will allow the sauce to cool slightly and thicken.