In French, potato is “pomme de terre” literally meaning apple of the earth which is odd considering how many differences there are between the two. In any case, a seemingly simple ingredient such as a potato can be brought to life with good ingredients, such as Potato Gratin. Here’s another French lesson: “gratin” signifies that a dish is topped with some kind of bread or breadcrumbs and browned. The twist on this dish is that we mash the potatoes instead of slicing them. This recipe combines the ideas of mashed and baked potatoes and the gratin transforms it into something new.
I started by peeling and chopping my potatoes and boiling them with some garlic cloves. This recipe taught me how important salt is to a recipe. Anytime you are boiling a carbohydrate, such as potatoes or pasta, the only way to add flavor is with salt. For these potatoes, I added two tablespoons of salt which boosted the potatoes’ flavor.
When a fork was easily inserted into a potato, I knew they were tender and ready to drain. I removed the garlic and returned the potatoes to the pan. Next, I added milk and sour cream and lightly mashed the potato mixture. Unlike when making mashed potatoes, I wanted these to remain chunky because it added texture.
Next, I added grated cheddar cheese until it was combined. I didn’t have to worry about the cheese melting because the potatoes were so warm, they took care of it for me. After I poured the mixture into a baking dish, I combined Parmesan, a shake of cayenne pepper, and panko breadcrumbs in a small bowl and sprinkled the mixture evenly over the top. Then, the dish went into the oven. The recipe I used said it should go about twenty minutes but after that time, the top had not browned much so I left it in for a good twenty minutes longer. If I had used a lighter topping of the breadcrumbs, it might have cooked in less time but in the end, I was left with the same result.
The potatoes were perfectly cooked and melded nicely with the cheese and topping. It tasted like a baked potato because of the sour cream and chunky potatoes but the topping made it feel special. The hint of cayenne complimented the cheese and potatoes but did not overpower it. Give it a try, if you have any comments on the recipe, leave them below. Bon Appetit! Continue reading