Note: Good news! We finally got the print recipe feature working along with the recipe box. My apologies for the delay, a food blog with no option for printing — yikes! It should be good to go now. Print and save away.
My husband is a meat and potatoes kind of a guy. On special occasions he’s easy to please with these standards. Add on a little steamed broccoli or a wedge salad and he’s a happy camper. Actually, camper is not a term I would ever use to describe my husband — as happy as a luxury hotel guest? Oh, and bring to the table a good bottle of Barolo! Don’t forget the Barolo, Valerie.
We keep it simple, but well sourced. Most Father’s Day dinners I’ll/ he’ll order special prime steaks from the likes Flannery Beef or Allen Steaks. These steaks matched with his favorite potatoes, some arugula for color and that Barolo is a sure-fire winner all around.
Those favorite potatoes are the classic Gratin Dauphinois, the decadent French potato gratin. I’ve been making this version for years and it has yet to fail me. You can’t go wrong with Jacques Pepin or potatoes drenched in cream and cheese. Also, with Santa Barbara being completely socked in with drippy fog this week, I’m particularly looking forward to this dish of comfort.
This round I used purple potatoes because that’s what’s growing in the garden. Guess what? Purple potatoes are growing at our Whole Foods, too! I grow the purple variety specifically for their creamy texture and that beautiful color.
Even though I’m a girl who loves her steak, I would be content to eat these potatoes with a frisse salad and call it a night — Oh, wait…it’s not Mother’s Day.
Recipe adapted from Jacques Pepin
2 ½ pounds red or purple potatoes (post peeling you’ll have about two pounds of potatoes)
2 1/2 cups of milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 spring of thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons grated garlic* (about 3 cloves)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper (my apologies to the French)
3/4 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven 400.
Peel the potatoes and keep them in a bowl of cool water so they don’t discolor. When you are ready to begin the gratin, slice potatoes thin with a mandolin. You want about 1/8″ slices, you can use a food processor, too.
Put the slices into a large saucepan and then add the milk, cream, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally so the slices don’t stick together or to the bottom of the pan as they cook. When the mixture begins to boil it will get thick and creamy. Let the potatoes boil for a minute or so. Remove the thyme sprig and then pour the mixture into a 6 – 8 cup gratin dish.
Sprinkle on the cheeses and bake for about 1 hour. Plan to let the gratin rest about 30 minutes before serving. If you need more time to get the rest of the meal ready, keep potatoes warm on the lowest setting of your oven (uncovered) until ready to eat.
*I use my Microplane grater for this.
Happy Father’s Day to all of those wonderful dads out there. I especially want to acknowledge my dad and husband — two great men who continue to nurture and care deeply. I love you, we love you. Cheers!