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Classic Potato Gratin

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Serves six to eight.

Try to get a good-quality Gruyère or Emmental, which will be moderately assertive yet mellow and nutty.

  • 2 lb. Yukon Gold or russet potatoes, peeled
  • 3 cups whipping or heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3/4 cup finely shredded Gruyère, Emmental, or Comté

Heat the oven to 400°F. Using a very sharp knife or a mandoline, carefully cut the potatoes into 1/8-inch slices (no thicker).

Put the potatoes in a large heavy-based saucepan and add the cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and garlic. Cook the mixture over medium-high heat until the cream is boiling, stirring occasionally (very gently with a rubber spatula so you don't break up the slices).

When the cream boils, pour the mixture into a 2-1/2- or 3-qt. baking dish. If you don't want a tender but garlicky surprise mouthful, remove and discard the garlic cloves. Shake the dish a bit to let the slices settle and then sprinkle the surface with the cheese.

Bake in the hot oven until the top is deep golden brown, the cream has thickened, and the potatoes are extremely tender when pierced with a knife, about 40 minutes. Don't worry if the dish looks too liquidy at this point; it will set up as it cools a bit. Before serving, let the potatoes cool until they're very warm but not hot (at least 15 minutes) or serve them at room temperature.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on eight servings without cheese; Calories (kcal): 400; Fat (g): fat g 33; Fat Calories (kcal): 300; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 21; Protein (g): protein g 4; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 23; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 280; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 120; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I have made this several times now and it is a family favorite. I don't make it too often because of the fat and calories but the same fat and calories make this a delicious side dish for a celebratory dinner or an impressive contribution to a pot luck. I like the idea of making it on the stove top as it is faster and the results speak for themselves. I made gratin potatoes in the oven for a long time but I prefer this method. A delicious dish

Made this for Easter. Best I ever made! Everyone loved it. I followed the instruction except I did half cheddar. Yummy.

Delicious! Prepared this for Easter dinner to delighted diners! Strongly advise using a mandolin for uniform thin potato slices. Most definitely will make it again and again! To simplify the procedure of this gratin, I separately heated the cream mixture mixed with all of the seasonings and then poured this over the sliced potatoes and then baked. Far simpler than having to cook the sliced potatoes and the cream on the stovetop prior to baking. Gratin turned out perfect!

I made this recipe last night. It was easy, and was exceptionally good. This will be a new favorite for me.

I followed the recipe and it was wonderful. Martha Holmber's article on potato gratins was helpful to read. I took it out at 30 minutes when I saw the butterfat and it was perfect.

I love this recipe. I caramelize a sweet onion and make two layers of potatoes, onions, cheese. So good!

I would like to make this a day ahead. Does anyone see a problem there? I would take it out ahead and allow to come to room temp. Do you think the potatoes will discolor?

Needs a bit more zing. Perhaps a bit of cayenne or Dijon mustard.

Came out very nice The technique is important here, cooked faster than doing it all in the oven. I replaced the cheese with sharp english cheddar and the garlic with sweet onions. Put a few slices of sweet potato too.

Made it for potluck at church. Used sharp cheddar cheese. I tripled the recipe and just kept it right in the large dutch oven I boiled the cream and potato slices in. It took longer to cook and I covered it for 40 minutes. Everyone LOVED it.

8/29/13 This is a great recipe as far as ingredients, however, I don't get why the author is starting the recipe on top of the stove. There is really no reason to do this. I make Gratins fairly regularly and never do this. I layer all ingredients into a baking dish, in my case I like LeCreuset's enameled cast iron, I cover the dish wish foil and into a 350 oven for about 50 - 60 minutes, depending on how much you have in the pan, and once the potatoes or whatever are tender I then take the foil off, add another layer of cheese on top, turn the oven up to 415 and let the dish brown. Works beautifully. No need to start potato gratin on top of the stove. Just last night I made a Potato/Kohlrabi gratin in which I added a layer of caramelized onions. I used three cheeses being Gruyere, Gorgonzola & a little Cheddar. This dish was out of this world and only cooked in the oven.

I have tried many recipes for potato gratin this was by far the best. The only thing I changed was substituting one of the cups of cream for whole milk also I made it in advance and refrigerated then added on about 15 minutes to the cooking time to compensate. Perfect Easter side dish for rack of lamb with mint basil pesto and green beans with walnuts. I will definitely make again.

I didn't have experience making potato au gratin before I made this about a month ago from the recipe on this website. But I've always kind of liked it in restaurants. After an aborted attempt to make it (after not having the necessary ingredients) with another recipe, two years ago (after having promised my apartment guests potato au gratin), I found this recipe when I had some free time to make dinner one night. This recipe is amazing! The Gruyere cheese and the garlic are what make the dish. Also, make sure you cut the potatoes as thin as they say (1/8 inch), and also be sure the dish is bubbly and the cheese is browned when you take it out of the oven. The dish beats regular scalloped potatoes easily. Amazingly good. I also used two parts whipping cream and one part whole milk. Worked easier than buying more than a pint of whipping cream and didn't seem to hurt the finished product. Enjoy!

Followed the recipe and it was FANTASTIC! Easy and delicious...

Can I sum it up with one word? WOW

Made this for an early Christmas dinner over the weekend and everyone raved about how good this dish was. My husband told me he thought we were going to have a betty crocker style potato au gratin dish and that was nothing like betty crocker style!! I will use this recipe many more times! I had a large crowd for dinner, so I had to double the recipe. I didn't change a thing. Super easy!! I might add a little more cheese next time just to see the difference,but it didn't need it. I served it with the a beef tenderloin, sauted asparagus, mixed greens salad with cranberries, candied walnuts and feta!!

Every Christmas I make scalloped potatoes as a side dish to our ham. When I saw this recipe I couldn't imagine that it would be any better than what I always make. WRONG! This dish is so unbelievably delicious and so easy to make especially with a mandolin. My husband told me I better make two batches for Christmas dinner - one for everyone else and one just for us!

So easy and yummy (this coming from a non-cook)! Also, I couldn't find the cheese they suggested at my local grocery store so I just used shredded mexican cheese(white in color). Also, let stand a minimum of 20 minutes when complete for thickness.

Oh my!! This is so simple and so delicious! I love it so much I could wear it! What's up with the previous reviewer who gave it one star because they already knew the recipe from a Julia Child cookbook? Who cares - they said they made it many times so they must like it. Anyway - This is sooo rich, so I did take a chance and used 1 C half & half - no bad result so I might just try half cream and half half&half just to save a few calories. In any case these are the BEST! Will make these over and over again, I'm sure!

Look at Julia Child's "The Way I Cook" and find the same thing. I've been making it for years.

I have made this recipe several times and always enjoyed it. Most recently I adapted it to individual servings using a muffin tin - worked beautifully. The gratin is definitely best served mildly warm so let it cool quite a bit before serving. See my individual servings here http://gustatorydelight.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/couples-wine-night-the-main-course/

Absolutely the most luscious version of scalloped potatoes I and my family have ever eaten! It is much simpler than my usual version (with tedious layering) and tastes like a bite of heaven. Use your mandoline and it is a snap to make. Try it and you will be hooked.

wonderful dish, next time I will use half and half. 3 cups of cream is just calorie over kill, you wouldn't miss it in flavor.

Made this for my husbands potluck today. He just texted me and said the dish was a huge hit but was told next time I need to make a bigger dish. This just became a keeper. Thank you

This is by far the best recipe for Potato Gratin that I've ever tasted. I will be making it again very soon. The detailed instructions are a must see for baking this dish properly, I learned a lot from taking the time to read them. Thank you Martha and Fine Cooking.

Excellent - received rave reviews from my husband and guests. I served it with roast beef and you can't go wrong with this one.

The best I've ever had

My guests were practically licking the dish clean. This was simply fantastic. Quality ingredients are key here. I used Yukon Golds and the best Gruyere I could find. Served this with the beef tenderloin from FC #89 (p102a) and a salad of baby greens with vinaigrette. My husband said that it was the best meal he'd ever eaten.

Easy and mouth watering!

Awesome! Scrumptious! Terrific! Get the idea? I hope so, because I'm running out of superlatives. I used a mandoline to slice the potatoes paper thin, and it made all the difference. Be sure to use a good quality Gruyere cheese. You will LOVE this!

This recipe rocks. Soooo good!!

Best potato gratin recipe I've made! Got rave reviews and several people wanted the recipe. Definitely a keeper!

I have made this recipe on several occasions, formal and informal. Each and every time, I receive compliments and requests for the recipe. A solid winner. One of my "blue chip" side dishes. Be sure to use quality ingredients to ensure success!

Just Wonderful. Made it for Christmas dinner to be served alongside a roast beef tenderloin and my guest couldn't stop raving about it. No leftovers with this dish.

We have made this recipe every year since it was first published and it has always made me look like a star. This year I lost my Dec. 1999 edition and was panic stricken until I realized the recipe was online. Thank goodness because the guests are already asking if I will be making it again. I have substituted 1/2 coffee cream (15%bf) for half the whipping cream and that still works, but any less fat than that and it is not as good. Great recipe!

Absolutely the best Emmenthaler is my favorite, but I made it in a pinch with Manchego as well and it was terrific. Easy on the nutmeg or it will overwhelm.

The best ever!

Wow...I prepared this recipe along with the Recipe for Braised Lamb Shanks with Garlic and Vermouth from Fine Cooking Issue #84 page 35. I also prepared Green Beans with a little butter and lemon juice as a side dish. My husband said that this is one of the best meals he ever had. Our company loved it too. I would prepare it again in an instant because it truly was FABULOUS and easy to do. I used russet potatoes and followed the directions exactly as written. You will not be disappointed with this recipe..in fact you will be thrilled at the way it turns out.

Delicious! A keeper... I have made scalloped potatoes since my youth, but this tops it all ;-)

These are the best au gratin potatoes. I attend an annual covered supper where I am requested to bring these every year. They go wonderfully with a baked ham or a roast beef.

I have never met anyone who does not like this! It has become a holiday and entertaining staple.

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