This past week Z said mentioned that we hadn’t fired up the grill in a while and also that he had a craving for good steak, so he suggested we pick up some aged strip steaks at Whole Foods and spend a quiet Friday at home. What with the craziness of the last few weeks, I was all in favor! When I asked what sides he was thinking about to go with the steaks his response was “something green and something potato-y – not necessarily in the same dish,” which gave me a lot of leeway. I went with green and yellow squash for the vegetable, but decided to fancy up the potatoes a bit and go with a deceptively simple 3-ingredient gratin. It turned out to be the right choice, as Z had 2 servings and requested leftovers for dinner the next night, too!
I’m warning you right now, this is not a low-calorie dish. It is, however, creamy, rich, and delicious, so a little bit goes a long way. And it is a perfect accompaniment to a grilled steak for date night or as part of a holiday meal served with a spiral sliced ham or roast beef.
Start off with two large russet potatoes – I think these were a little under 1lb each. Peel and slice them to about 1/8th inch thickness. I’ve used a mandoline in the past to get consistent slices, but any decently sharp knife will work just fine. They don’t have to be perfect
Layer the potato slices in a baking dish (I like my small cast iron casserole, but any oven safe dish will do):
Grate over a little cheese – just enough to lightly cover the layer of potatoes:
Pour over a little bit of cream:
Repeat until you run out of potatoes, making sure to finish with a last grating of cheese and a good shake of fresh ground black pepper:
Bake covered with foil in a 350 oven for 60 mins, then uncover for another 15-20 mins to let the top get browned and bubbly.
These potatoes are super rich and creamy so even this smaller sized casserole makes 6 full servings of gratin.
A few notes about the recipe overall:
- I love the rich salty flavor of the cave-aged Gruyere cheese, but you can make this with any reasonably strongly flavored cheese that appeals to you. I’ve made it with an extra sharp cheddar before and it’s equally delicious.
- I do not add any salt to this recipe because, as I mentioned above, the Gruyere is already fairy salty and I don’t think it needs more. If you choose to try a different kind of cheese, you might need to add salt to your layers.
- You can also substitute half-n-half or even just plain whole milk for the cream if you want to reduce the calories and fat some. I wouldn’t recommend making it with a low fat milk or a non-dairy milk, however, as the texture can turn a little grainy without the fat from the cream/milk.
- The casserole itself comes together really quickly, but if you need to, you can assemble it a day in advance and keep it in the fridge covered tightly with foil or plastic wrap so that the potatoes don’t dry up and turn brown. If you bake it straight out of the fridge, add another 15 minutes to the covered baking time.
- Finally, one final note that this dish does not necessarily reheat well as it is. Although it’s incredibly creamy fresh out of the oven, after it’s sat overnight in the fridge, the cheese and cream separate out a little and you’ll see an oily layer on the bottom of the pan. I like to chop up the leftovers, and saute them in a frying pan for the 2nd time around. The flavor is still great and they make a wonderful accompaniment to eggs in the morning or (as we did) with slices of ham for dinner the next night.
Potatoes Gruyere Gratin
- 2-3 large russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
- 3-4 oz Gruyere cheese (or a strongly flavored cheese of your choice)
- 3/4 cup cream
- black pepper
Layer the potatoes, cheese, and cream in a baking dish until all the ingredients are used up. Bake covered in a 350° oven for 60 mins (or until a toothpick or skewer penetrates through all the layers of potato easily). Uncover and cook a further 15-20 mins until the top becomes brown and bubbly.
Makes 6 servings. Per serving: Calories: 259 | Protein 9g | Fat 18g | Carb 20g | Fiber 2g