A simple yet decadent potato gratin dauphinois is a perfect comforting side dish for a French bistro inspired meal. It features a combination of hearty ingredients baked together until bubbly.
Not to be confused with pommes dauphine which are crispy fried potato puffs, gratin dauphinois is a baked potato and cream casserole. This classic French potato dish dates back to at least 1788 in the region of Dauphiné in Southeast France. In its simplest form it features thinly sliced potatoes with cream or milk baked in a garlic-rubbed baking dish.
Gratin dauphinois purists claim that cheese has no place in this dish. To do so would make it gratin savoyard. Although I love melted gooey cheese on all things, especially potatoes, sometimes a recipe is so exquisite as is that cheese doesn't even feel necessary. It's nice to prepare something so perfectly elegant, yet rustic, that it needs nothing more than milk, cream and seasonings.
A little touch of Dijon mustard and grated nutmeg add a subtle flair. This potato dish is incredibly restrained, but I wouldn't change a single thing.
How to make it
Peel the potatoes and cut them into ⅛-inch-thick slices. Place them in a pot with milk, cream, nutmeg, Dijon mustard, and salt and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the clove of garlic in half and rub the cut sides around the inside of a baking dish. Then smear soft butter around the inside of the dish.
Pour the potato and cream mixture into the dish and spread the potatoes out evenly. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Serve gratin dauphinois hot, topped with a sprinkling of chopped parsley, if desired.
Although you may use a mandoline to evenly slice these potatoes, if you have good knife skills a sharp knife will get the job done. Personally I am a bit apprehensive using mandolines because they can easily cause injuries.
Partially cooking the potato slices and milk/cream on the stove-top not only gives the potatoes a head start in cooking but also adds a bit of starch and thickness to the cream. Be careful not to overcook them during this step, as you want them to retain their shape, and not break apart.
Yes, many versions of gratin dauphinois include a generous amount of grated cheese, and of course you could add some. I suggest giving this a try without the cheese to see what you think before making changes. If you choose to add cheese, top with about ⅔ cup grated Gruyere cheese right before baking.
Other recipes you may like
- Beef Bourguignon
- Classic Steak Tartare
- Crêpes Parmentier (Buckwheat Galettes with Potato)
- Soupe de Chalet (Swiss Cheese and Potato Soup)
- Erdäpfelsalat (Austrian Potato Salad)
- Patatas Bravas (Fierce Potatoes)
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Gratin Dauphinois (French Scalloped Potatoes)
- 2 pounds starchy/floury potatoes (such as Russet, Sebago, Maris Piper, or Désirée)
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Pinch nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon kosher (coarse) salt
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon soft butter
- Chopped parsley or dill (optional)
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into ⅛-inch-thick slices. Place them in a pot with the milk, cream, nutmeg, mustard, and salt and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C. Cut the clove of garlic in half and rub the cut sides around the inside of a 3 quart baking dish, then smear the butter around the inside of the dish.
- Pour the potato and cream mixture into the dish and spread the potatoes out evenly. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Serve hot, topped with a sprinkling of chopped parsley, if desired.
- Although you may use a mandoline to evenly slice these potatoes, if you have good knife skills a sharp knife will get the job done.
- If you choose to add cheese, top with about ⅔ cup grated Gruyere cheese right before baking.
- This recipe uses kosher salt (aka cooking salt, kitchen salt, coarse salt outside of the US). If you are using table salt, definitely scale down the salt as that is a saltier type of salt! The type of salt will make a big difference in how salty your food tastes, so keep that in mind.
- Adapted from The Little Paris Kitchen
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*