I make two potato dishes every year for Thanksgiving: some kind of white potato (usually mashed) and sweet potatoes (often, also mashed). Potatoes are one of (if not my all-time favorite) foods, and back home, my mother used to make scalloped potatoes for us when we were little. So, for this month’s Recipe Redux challenge (vintage side dishes), I thought I would present you with a pairing of potato sides: a potato gratin to mirror the layered dish of my childhood and the other, a potato galette, an experiment I made for my family last year at Christmas.
The first dish, the gratin pictured above (and recipe below) came on the heels of a delicious filet Mignon David cooked for me awhile back. The steak was a special treat, and it was bathed in a luscious cream and peppercorn sauce based on a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. But at the end of the night, with the steak all gone, we were left with a hefty portion of the cream sauce leftover. So I took the extra and poured it over thinly sliced potato layers and turned it into a baked gratin.
Doesn’t that also embody the spirit of healthy home cooking? I know this has a bit of heavy cream in the ingredients list, but making the most of leftovers is something that I think helps home cooks keep cooking at home, rather than picking up some quick and easy take-out.
Then I have this potato galette with onions and caraway, which adorned our Christmas table last year. It was such a fun idea and translated well into a composed, elegant holiday dish (in case you’re still hunting for ideas for tomorrow… if not, it’s fabulous at Christmas, too).
After our Christmas dinner, my mom turned the leftovers into a quick skillet hash for breakfast the next morning.
Lighter Potato Gratin
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 shallot, minced
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon
3-4 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
salt & pepper
1) Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add the pepper and shallot. Cook for 2 minutes until the shallots soften and begin to brown. Add the wine, broth, heavy cream, and milk and simmer for 5 minutes. Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the tarragon.
2) Preheat the oven to 400-degrees. Lightly grease an oval casserole dish or a 9×13 glass dish with olive or vegetable oil or spray. Layer 1/3 of the potatoes in a single layer, though overlapping slightly. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of the Parmesan cheese over the first layer. Repeat the layering twice, sprinkling Parmesan over each layer.
3) Pour the milk mixture over the layered potatoes (it should reach the top layer but not completely cover the potatoes). Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.