This may be getting a bit close to the Irish stereotype, but I really love potatoes. Smooth creamy mash, buttered new potatoes, hot chips sprinkled with flaky sea salt, crispy roasties, fluffy baked potatoes…. But dauphinoise are something else – they also hit my other weak spot, cream. If an item on a menu is served with dauphinoise potatoes, then it pretty much guarantees I’ll be choosing it. It’s very simple to put together – the key to cooking them is patience; if you try to rush them at too high a temperature the cream will split and go lumpy – still tasty, but certainly less appetising in appearance.
1 kg potatoes
300ml double cream
1 garlic clove
A pinch of grated nutmeg
Handful of grated pecorino/parmesan/strong cheddar
Preheat the oven to GM 3.
Slice the potatoes as thinly as you can – I now use my food processor to do it for me, but when I did it by hand and they came out thicker I would sometimes parboil them to help soften them slightly before adding them to the baking dish.
Chop the garlic clove in half length-ways, crush it a bit and then rub the inside of your baking dish with the clove, giving it a good squeeze as you do so to get the juices coating it nicely. If you like a stronger garlicky flavour to your dauphinoise then you can always mash the clove and leave it in the dish.
Heat the cream, but don’t let it boil. Start adding the sliced potatoes, and after every layer pour on some of the hot cream and season lightly with sea salt and black pepper.
When the potatoes are layered up nicely, grate a pinch of nutmeg over the top, thinly scatter a handful of a hard salty cheese like pecorino over the top. Then add little chunks of butter dotted over the top.
Cover with foil and bake for at least an hour until the potatoes are tender. You can remove the foil and turn the heat up at the end (or place under the grill briefly) if you want to brown the top a little more.