Neither one thing nor the other, but combining something of the best of both.
My love affair with pommes dauphinoise began, romantically enough, with late night assignations in a deserted hotel kitchen. Whilst all around us slept I’d sneak into the darkened larder and by only the light leaking from the fridge door would sate my starchy desires with a mouthful of chef Maggie’s magical combination of potato and cream.
Since the cardiac kerfuffle of a year ago though I’ve done my best to curb my cholesterol and more often opt for a boulangere, where the potatoes and onions cook slowly in stock rather than cream. But then I thought why choose, when you can combine the two without completely clogging your arteries?
- 2 large potatoes, sliced 1mm thin on a mandolin
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 500ml chicken stock
- A glass of wine or vermouth
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- A bruised clove of garlic
- 2 good tablespoons of half-fat creme fraiche
Add the wine, garlic and rosemary to the stock and reduce by about a third. Layer the potatoes and onion in a gratin dish, seasoning well with salt and pepper between each layer. Whisk the creme fraiche into the hot stock, and strain this over the potatoes. Cover with a cartouche of baking paper or foil and bake at 160°C for an hour and a half, then uncover and cook for a further half hour. Allow to rest for five minutes before eating.
You can of course make a vegetarian version by using vegetable stock, in which case you probably won’t want to eat it with lamb ‘lolipop’ cutlets, with which it eats very well!