Nextaphile

My adventures recreating Next Restaurant’s food at home

Gratin de Pommes de Terre à la Dauphinoise

Next Restaurant recipe for Potatoes Dauphinoise, pages 84-85, from the Paris 1906 – Escoffier at the Ritz cookbook.
Gratin de Pommes de Terre à la Dauphinoise, Escoffier 4200*

Potato Dauphinoise

Back in April 2011, I posted that I was excited to have scored tickets to Next Restauarant’s first menu, Paris 1906 – Escoffier at the Ritz. And my expectations were surpassed by the wonderful meal we had there in June. I thought it was the best meal I’d ever eaten! And you know what my favorite part of it was? The potatoes au gratin served with their pressed duck. They were so rich and creamy, topped with a crispy panko crust and thyme. To die for!

I was excited to eat at Next Restaurant!

When Next Restaurant’s much anticipated iBook (or is that iCookbook?) Paris 1906 was released, I had to make their Gratin de Pommes de Terre à la Dauphinoise my first recipe challenge!

They turned out splendidly, not hard at all to make, and just as depicted in the cookbook. I found this recipe much more straightforward and comfortable to cook than some of my other attempts at Alinea Restaurant recipes.

Potato Dauphinoise
So what we have here is the best recipe for au gratin potatoes ever. Better than Mom’s. My mom used to make them with ham, and called them “scalloped potatoes” when I was young. Perhaps yours did as well. I must say, God rest her soul, that these whip hers.

What is Dauphinoise?
The name Dauphinois refers to the Dauphiné region of France, where this method of preparing potatoes is a specialty. The dish is typically prepared using ingredients of thinly sliced and layered potatoes and cream cooked in a buttered dish rubbed with garlic. Eggs may sometimes be mixed with milk and cream rather than simply using cream. Variations consist of alternating layers of sliced potatoes, Beaufort cheese, pieces of butter, with bouillon as the liquid. When we went to Next, our server told us they used Comté cheese. Did you know that Gruyère is the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) name for the local Swiss version of cheese produced in the area of Gruyères, France? Just as Roquefort is the AOC name for the local type of blue cheese found near Roquefort, France. French versions of Gruyère are Beaufort and Comté.

Mise en place:
Mise en place for potato dauphinoise

I brought the cream, chopped garlic, fresh thyme and some salt to a simmer, then removed from the heat and covered to steep for awhile.

Simmering cream, thyme and garlic

After it had cooled to room temp, I strained and returned it to the heat.

Straining the infused cream

While it was warming up, I peeled some Golden Yukon potatoes, then sliced very thin on the mandolin.

Thinly sliced potatoes

Then added the potato slices to the infused cream, and let them simmer until they were tender. Gently simmer and stir so the cream does not stick and burn. As the starch releases from the potatoes, the cream naturally thickens up into a beautifully smooth and aromatic sauce… love it!

I removed the potatoes to my prep area and let cool. The recipe says to pour out flat onto a prepared sheet tray and refrigerate. No idea why, anyone else?

scalloped potatoes

While this was cooling my girlfriend grated some gruyere cheese for the potatoes, and some more with a microplane for the crumb topping. Then I mixed the finely grated cheese with some panko breading, breaking up any clumps with my fingers.

Gruyere-panko

To Assemble and Serve
Putting this dish together is as simple as layering a dish of lasagna. First, I sprayed a ceramic dish with PAM, so the cheese wouldn’t stick.

Assembling the gratin

Then alternated layers of creamy potatoes with grated cheese.

Layering the gruyere and potatoes

Then topped with the gruyère-panko crumb mix. Ready to bake…

Gratin ready to bake

The recipe says to put the dish under the broiler to heat up. I don’t have a small broiler oven or salamander like most restaurants do. So I decided to bake it a while to melt the cheese, then cranked up the oven to the “broil” setting to finish it off.

Potato Dauphinoise

Kept it in too long, I fear — the crumbs got just a tad too brown. Serving them is fun cause the Swiss gruyere cheese gets stringy like a good pizza!

Serving the cheesy potatoes

I served these with Salade Irma and some rotisserie chicken for dinner. Yumm!

Potatoes gratin Dauphinoise

Ingredients
Yukon Gold potatoes
Alta-Dena heavy cream
Cloves fresh garlic
Fresh thyme
Morton’s kosher salt
Gruyère, Comté or Beaufort cheese
Panko bread crumbs

Equipment
Cutting board and kitchen knife
Salter digital scale
Measuring bowls
Wooden spoon
Rubber spatula
Medium saucepan
Strainer
Mixing bowls
Vegetable peeler
Box grater
Microplane grater

Serveware
Ceramic boats, ramekins or gratin ware

Yields: Enough for 6-8 servings


*Escoffier
Escoffier, Auguste. The complete guide to the art of modern cookery. Translated by H. L. Cracknell and R. J. Kaufmann. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1979. This edition is the first complete English translation of the 1907 edition of Le guide culinaire. It includes all ±5ooo recipes, with original numbers. Many subsequent English-language editions have been shortened, and are thus re-numbered.

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