I was sitting at home thinking about these potatoes au gratin that a friend made for me years ago. Soooooooooo, good, and so simple. I’ve never made them. So I did some research, and found a million recipes, all variations on the OG Esscofier version. Usually the American version goes like this, it’s basically Mac n Cheese with potatoes…You make a bechamel sauce, add cheese, layer chedder cheese, sauce and sliced potatoes, with thinly sliced onions on top…I decided to make this dish using the original recipe from Esscofier.
1 egg (whipped)
Thinly sliced, peeled russet potatoes
Thinly sliced leeks (white part only)
Fresh country cream
Salt, pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg
Thinly slice the leeks. (I used a mandolin slicer)
Saute the leeks gently in unsweetened country butter (do not brown them), and set them aside
Peel, and slice the potatoes. Again I used my Mandolin slicer (they should be 1/8 of an inch thick).
Combine the whipped egg, and potatoes. Salt and pepper generously and set aside.
Grate the cheese. Now the cheese is key. I went my fave cheese shop “Artisan Cheese Gallery” in Studio City, Cali. I’m tasting cheeses and then I taste this aged gruyere that is like fifty bucks a pound and DAMN, it’s gooooooooooood! I buy a 1/4 pound.
Take a baking dish and smear it with a stick of butter.
Add a layer of seasoned, sliced potatoes
Add a layer of the leeks
Add a layer of cheese until you get to the top. Sprinkle with extra cheese, and freshly grated nutmeg.
Pour the fresh cream in, but do not top off. Leave about a quarter of an inch room at the top.
Put it in a pre heated oven at 350 degrees for about an hour and a half.
Double Top Secret Cooking Info:
For a perfect crust, you will have to break the crust three times!
Once every 20 minutes or so take a wooden spoon and break the crust, and gently swirl and remoisten the potatoes. This will give you the perfect crust. Also, the key to this dish is the cheese. I’ve made it using normal gruyere cheese and it was good, but with the really good aged gruyere it became amazing!
*I made this dish using fennel instead of leeks and it was amazing!
Afterword: I tried to serve this dish to my 3 1/2 year old daughter. She was not having it! She wanted my Mac n Cheese. I bribed her with a cookie and she took one bite and it was over. She silently ate the whole bowl. I asked her did she like it? And she said “Yeah, could you make this tomorrow daddy? DONE!