Prep 20 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
Rich, delicious and comforting - what more could you want?
- 3 lbs russet potatoes, of uniform size (Idaho)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 clove garlic, crushed through a press
- 1 1⁄2-2 cups half-and-half or 1 1⁄2-2 cups milk
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons creme fraiche (optional)
- 1⁄3-1⁄2 cup heavy cream
- 1⁄4 cup parmesan cheese
- Peel and wash the potatoes and slice them into rounds 1/8 inch thick.
- Generously butter a 9 by 12-inch heavy shallow baking dish or an oval gratin dish of comparable size.
- (You can also use a 12-inch cast-iron skillet).
- Rub the dish with half of the crushed garlic.
- In a small saucepan, bring the half-and-half to a simmer with the remaining garlic and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F Arrange the potatoes in one overlapping layer on the bottom of the dish.
- Season the layer generously with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
- Arrange two more layers on top, seasoning each layer liberally.
- You might not need all the potatoes.
- Press the layers down to compact them.
- Pour in enough half-and-half to come up just a little below the top layer of potatoes.
- Set the baking dish on a larger baking sheet, cover with foil, and bake until the potatoes feel tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.
- Raise the oven temperature to 425°F, remove the foil, and bake until the top begins to brown, about 10 minutes.
- Pour just enough cream to cover the top, dab it with crème fraîche, if using, and sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan.
- Bake until the top is brown and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes more.
- Remove from the oven and let the potatoes stand for 10 minutes to absorb the cream.
- Cut into squares and serve.