This farmhouse dish goes very well with roast lamb or beef and is just as good reheated—in a low oven for 30 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6


  • 1 1/2 pound medium potatoes
  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 4 Tbsp. milk
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups Comté, Gruyére or Emmentaler cheese, grated
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


    Peel the potatoes using a swivel peeler, wash them and use a mandoline to cut them into even, not-too-thick slices, about 1/16- to 1/8-inch thick. Spread them out on a clean surface, sprinkle generously with salt, rub them together well then rearrange them in a pile and set aside for 10 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 325°.

    Dip the half garlic clove in fine salt, then use it to rub the insides of a shallow baking dish, either a Le Creuset type or earthenware.

    Put the cream and milk in a large saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add a grinding of pepper, then the nutmeg. As soon as the cream is warm, squeeze the potatoes in small handfuls to extract the water then add them to the cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon every minute. Cook a further 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

    Remove from the heat, add the grated cheese then tip everything into the baking dish and spread out evenly; the gratin needs to be 2- to 2 1/2-inches deep. Cook in the oven 45 minutes, then remove and set aside in a warm place.

    Serve within 20 minutes of removing from the oven, either as-is at the table, so everyone can serve themselves using a large spoon; or, serve out portions in the kitchen using a plain 2 1/2- to 2 3/4-inch pastry cutter, placing these on small, individual dishes.

    From The Essence of French Cooking (Quadrille) by Michel Roux.

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