Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pinched Potatoes au Gratin

Pinching unhealthy fats out of foods is one of my favorite things do to in the kitchen - just as long as the dish comes out well. Potatoes au Gratin might be the effort I'm most proud of. I give all the credit to the Gruyère; this cheese certainly stands alone. Gruyère is so flavorful that not much is needed. Couple that with the use of nonfat milk and the fat content is significantly lower than the cream-and-gobs-of-cheese version.

These make a terrific wintertime side dish. Just beware that they need to be baked for about an hour and plan accordingly. They're great leftover, too. I warm them up in my toaster oven.

Pinched Potatoes au Gratin
Print recipe only here

Serves 4

4 medium Russet potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup nonfat milk
2 ounces Gruyère, grated
2 garlic cloves, smashed a bit
pinch nutmeg
salt and fresh ground pepper
kitchen slicer or Mandoline to cut the potatoes paper-thin
8-inch skillet

Preheat oven to 350° or 300° convection.

In a small saucepan, bring the milk, garlic, nutmeg and a few turns of black pepper to a simmer. Reduce heat to lowest setting - or turn it off completely - and allow to steep for 5 minutes.

Using slicer or Mandoline, cut one of the potatoes. Line the bottom of the skillet with a single layer of potatoes, overlapping them slightly. You won't use the entire potato in one layer; just save what's left for the next layer. Pour about a tablespoon of the steeped milk over the layer of potatoes, sprinkle a bit of salt and some fresh ground pepper on top. Top with a scant 1-2 t grated Gruyère. Repeat until you have used all four potatoes. Save the most generous sprinkling of cheese for the top layer.

Cover the skillet with foil and place in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 10-15 minutes, or until the top is golden. Allow to cool about 5 minutes before serving.

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