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The BloggerAid Cookbook

Gratin Dauphinois

It seems like the Flu just can't stop from visiting us this winter : our poor daughter is running around blowing bubbles with her runny nose - she finds it very interesting (sigh!) and a nasty cough. Though it doesn't like it is bothering her too much. Now she likes to share her dirty hanky ... first she will wipe her nose and then she insists on wiping my nose and then Pierre's. Ugh!

Back to something more appetizing : one of the most classic French gratin is gratin dauphinois (originated from Dauphiné), made up of mainly potatoes and heavy cream (crème fraîche). There are many different ways of cooking it, some cook the potatoes with milk first before baking it, some just bake it with milk or just plain cream. Some (to the food snobs horror) even add grated cheese to it, making it something called gratin savoyard.

Gratin Dauphinois
Ingredients
  • 1 kg potatoes (peeled & sliced)
  • 5 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 clove garlic
  • butter
  • milk
  • salt, pepper & ground nutmeg
Directions
  1. Cut the garlic into half and rub the garlic all over the bottom and sides of a baking or gratin dish.
  2. Then grease the bottom and sides of the dish with butter.
  3. Wash the potatoes, peel off the skin and then use the food processor to cut them into thin slices.
  4. Spread a layer of sliced potatoes on the dish and sprinkle on top of it with salt, pepper and ground nutmeg. Then lay another layer of potatoes and season it with salt, pepper and ground nutmeg. Repeat it until all the potatoes are used.
  5. Mix milk and cream together until it is combined and liquid enough. Spread the mixture evenly all over the potatoes.
  6. Bake in the oven at 210°C for about 45 minutes. The potatoes are cooked when the toothpick pierced through the gratin easily. If the top browns too quickly, lower the temperature slightly.
gratin dauphinois
The Verdict

Well cooked, the potatoes litteraly melt in your mouth and the cream makes it even more smooth! It's a nice side dish to go with some red meat.

Notes

You can either spread the milk-cream mixture on top of the potatoes or you can spread a bit of the mixture on each layer of potatoes.

You can do different variations with this dish like sprinkling grated cheese and bread crumbs on top of it, however it will not be called gratin dauphinois anymore.:-p

gratin dauphinois
10 comments on this post.

Cauliflower Gratin

Cauliflower Gratin (Gratin de Chou-fleur) is one of the classic French gratin dish - a casual dish in every French family. It's another great way to eat this veggie besides eating it simply boiled, fried, steamed or even raw.

Cauliflower has very high nutritional density: obviously low in fat, it's also high in dietary fiber and an excellent source of vitamin B5, B6, C and folate. It also contains sulforaphane, which has anti-cancer properities. So to make it short, it's supposed to be healthier than fries and you should eat some. There, I said it:-p

How to Select and Store

Season: December to March. Look for clean, creamy white and compact curd, while avoiding spotted or dull-coloured ones or those that have small flowers on them. Uncooked cauliflower can be stored up to a week if kept in a paper or plastic bag, preferably upside down to get any moisture out of it.

This recipe is also an entry for this week's Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by The Expatriate's Kitchen.

Cauliflower Gratin
Ingredients
  • 1 cauliflower (trimmed and separated into florets)
  • For the Béchamel Sauce :
    • 30 g plain flour
    • 30 g butter or margarine
    • ½ litre milk
    • salt, nutmeg & pepper

Directions
  1. Cook the cauliflower in a pot of boiling salted water for about 20 minutes or until soft (according to your preference). Drained and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven at 180°C (350°F - gas mark 4)
  3. Spread the cauliflower in a baking dish, pour the béchamel sauce all over it. Sprinkle generously grated cheese on top.
  4. Bake it for about 15 to 20 minutes or just 5 minutes under grill mode until the top is golden brown.

To prepare the Béchamel sauce

  1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan at medium heat. Make sure that the butter doesn't turn brown.
  2. Add the flour into the melted butter and stir it vigorously with a whisk. Continue to stir vigorously until you obtain a mousse like mixture.
  3. Stir in the milk a little at a time (make sure it's well incorporated), vigorously to avoid getting lumps.
  4. When about half the milk is in, switch to a balloon whisk and start adding large amounts of milk instead, but always whisking briskly. Your reward will be a smooth, glossy, creamy sauce.
  5. Whisk it until it thickens, then turn the heat down to its lowest setting.
  6. Season it with salt, nutmeg and pepper.
  7. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes (whisk it from time to time) and then remove from heat.
Cauliflower Gratin
The Verdict

I'm a big fan of cauliflower, I love the naturally sweet, milky and slightly nutty flavor of the plant. Combine this with the béchamel sauce and grilled cheesy top and you get some extra 'oomph' that will encourage children (or adults who aren't keen on eating vegetetables) to give it a go. My picky 1 year old loves it very much.

Notes

For an additional crunch, sprinkle some bread crumbs on top of the grated cheese before baking it in the oven.

Heat up the leftover in the oven at 180°C for about 10 minutes. I usually do it the lazy way - just pop it in the microwave oven.:-p

Cauliflower Gratin
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