Saturday, January 06, 2007

Transformative Potatoes Au Gratin

When I think of traditional potatoes au gratin, immediately, my mind conjures up sun-kissed, Monet-esque images of homey kitchen in a quaint farm town in France. On the kitchen table, I imagine a panoply of things: a white pitcher filled with heavy cream; a golden block of rich European beurre (butter); fluffy mounds of dry-aged, milky-white cheeses (shredded so finely the cheese would melt like snowflakes on one’s tongue); dainty cloves of garlic, naked of their papery skins; and a metal tub brimming with tanned and earthy potatoes. These are the traditional components of potatoes au gratin.

But I like to add two non-traditional twists.

Before I assemble the ingredients into a sturdy baking dish, I like to sauté garlic and scallions in olive oil and add this herbed mixture in with the potatoes. The scallions impart a warm and deep flavor of "comfort" throughout the potatoes. I also like to purposely "misarrange" the thin slices of potatoes, so that the dish seems less rigid, unyielding, and institutional.

Finally, for a uniquely "American Mac 'N Cheese" type feel, I like using a comfortable sharp cheddar cheese rather than the typical dry cheeses such as asiago, parmesan, or romano.

After combining the ingredients and baking the gratin in the oven until the cheese is blistered and bubbling, the end result is a substantial, layered bed of fluffy and fork-tender potatoes which have fully absorbed all flavor elements of the cream and cheese bisque-like concoction. Now that is what I call "transformative!" ... Or at least "bastardized!" Enjoy and bon appetit!

21 comments:

  1. Hi

    I much prfer it made with cheddar cheese - definitely tastier!
    Jilly

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  2. Sounds so cheesy and delicious!

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  3. *stomach growls*
    i'm eating disordered and struggling with/through Recovery, and i've never appreciated food as completely as how you've presented it on your blog. it's made me realize how much there is to love about food; how healthy and hearty it can be if prepared well. thank you! look forward to reading more of your entries!

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  4. Wow. I love your blog. It is truly a celebration of food out here. You need to try out Indian food next.

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  5. Hi PassionateEater !

    I found your blog by random and wanted to leave a comment regarding the Potatoes Au Gratin! This is a dish my significant other and I have about twice a year, and tonight we enjoyed it for dinner! Then I found your blog featuring this article ; )

    What beautiful images you've captured of the food, fantastic site too : )

    I am bookmarking this one for future dinner ideas!

    Michael-From-The-Future *
    QUESTION of the DAY!

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  6. oh my god, looking at food has never made my stomach growl before. im not a big eat, just like one of the anonymous writers, but that actually made me hungry..

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  7. Oh my! Those are mighty delicious looking!

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  8. An excellent blog! Now my gratin will turn out splendid! Thanks :D

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  9. my mouth is watering. those potatoes look delicious.

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  10. I'm hungry bro plz take my order. TQ

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  11. It looks and sounds stunning. Your blog is a noce bit of gastro-porn.

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  12. GO! Smell the flowers...1/06/2007 10:50:00 PM

    Great Blog!

    Here's us trying to stick to our 2007 detox with your recipes to contend with....we've posted a comment and have added you to our blgoroll. Cheers, GO!Smell the flowers.

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  13. I was strolling around Blogger when I saw the link to Passionate Eater and came here to take a look. Fantastic pictures, great posts! I think I'll be an habitué here ;)
    Greetings from Brazil!
    Daniela

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  14. Durnit, woman! Panda onna wedding diet! What you try do to me?

    Must... Not... Make... Gratin...

    Oh gods. I really want that gratin.

    - Chubbypanda

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  15. is that Borage flowers I see as colour/flavour on top? if so nice touch, borage is lovely - if not, what is it?

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  16. Hi there,
    Great blog, found by accident, but as a fellow foodie will be following yours with great interest. In sunny SA we use loads of cream in the gratin as well.
    From Andrea, Hillcrest, Kwazulu Natal South Africa

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  17. i like your mishmash arrangement! so less formal.

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  18. something about pot au gratin... i can never get sick of that dish... looks delish as usual p.e... keep cookin

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  19. Lizza said One of my favorite dishes. Your blog is on my Favorites list henceforth.

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  20. The funny thing is, being from Europe, I've never once eaten, seen or even heard of a potato gratin with cheese there. Encountered it for the first time in the US... ready-made, from a box!!
    My family's classic gratin features only the following ingredients: garlic to rub the pan with, potatoes layered with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and cream.

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