I've got a tasty little side dish for you along with a bit of a confession. People might think that because I write a food blog, and I talk about food all the time, that I probably make elaborate meals every night of the week. In real life, I usually don't cook more than one thing at a time. With the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas, I pretty much never make more than one dish from scratch for a meal.
Because of my laziness, side dishes often get shafted. Then again, I guess part two of this confession is that we sometimes have side dishes or dips or appetizers as dinner and skip a main dish all together. I try to act like an adult when people come over, but my husband gets weird non-dinner on a regular basis.
This English Potato Gratin is absolutely good enough to be its own thing. Of course, I'd also strongly encourage you to serve it alongside a beautiful roast chicken or even at a holiday dinner. It's creamy and subtle, but in no way lacking in flavor. Just make sure you don't skimp on the salt. A nice sprinkle of coarse sea salt on top before serving will really make it sing.
Unlike other gratins I've made in the past, the potatoes are actually boiled in the milk mixture to make sure the potatoes are perfectly tender. It also negates the need to fiddle with shingling your potato slices. Just boil them until they're soft and then transfer them however they fall to your baking dish, then transfer that to the oven to brown on the top.
I hope you make this English Potato Gratin. Serve it with something delicious, or not. Just don't skip this recipe. It's gonna be awesome.
English Potato Gratin
1 cup whole milk
1 cup double cream
½ peeled onion
1 whole clove
¼ teaspoon ground mace
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 pounds all-purpose potatoes like Yukon Gold
butter for greasing
sprinkle of coarse sea salt
- Preheat your oven to 425F.
- Put the milk and cream in a large sauce pan, one that will fit the potatoes later. Pierce your half an onion with your clove and add it to the pan. Also add in the mace, bay leaves, and salt , then heat this up just until you see a hint of bubbles around the edges. Turn off the heat and put a lid on to infuse the cream.
- While the cream is doing its thing, peel and thinly slice your potatoes. When they're all sliced up, add them to your cream mixture and raise the heat to bring it back up to a boil.
- Lower the heat to a simmer and cook the potatoes until tender. It'll take about 20 minutes. While this is cooking, you can butter a casserole or baking dish.
- Fish out the onion and bay leaves and transfer the potatoes to the buttered casserole dish. Cook this in the oven for about 15 minutes or until bubbly and brown. Allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
Adapted from Feast by Nigella Lawson.