Posted by: A Part of the Solution | February 14, 2011

Potatoes Dauphinois

Okay. Okay. Okay, they’re really just scalloped potatoes. The name makes them look all hoity-toity and chi-chi and like that. Yes, Potatoes Dauphinois is very nearly as pretentious as if I just came right out and called them Pommes de Terre Dauphinois.  Fine, I’m a little pompous about this lovely, simple dish. It’s a fair cop.

What Potatoes Dauphinois are not is Potatoes au Gratin. Instead, they really are just scalloped. So why the fuss? Why am I posting Potatoes Dauphinois with the same breathless anticipation as, say, Pain in the Parts Pumpkin Pie? And why, in the name of all that’s clear and useful, don’t I just call it Scalloped Potatoes?

Well, I call them Potatoes Dauphinois because that’s what Elizabeth David calls them in her culture shifting classic French Country Cooking. Oddly, but like many other country dishes, there are different ways of preparing this traditional recipe (and they’re all correct–ask anybody’s French granny who’s had the recipe handed down).

This dish is subtle and substantial enough to make a suitable primi piatti. Be merciful in your menu planning and serve a light dessert (I’m thinking a little fruit here) if Potatoes Dauphinois makes the scene. The dairy-based version is below the vegan variation.

Non-Dairy Potatoes Dauphinois

The measures given below are the basic multiplier for this dish. I generally double the volume given as a start point, but I’m also very fond of leftovers

1 clove garlic

fat to grease the pyrex-or-earthenware (for preference) shallow casserole

1 lb potatoes, scrubbed and sliced thinly with a mandoline or a food-processing attachment, then rinsed and patted dry

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

1/3 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 fat pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1 TBSP nutritional yeast (gives a ‘cheese’ character to the finished dish–and is optional)

1 TBSP nut oil (hazelnut and walnut are particularly delectable here) or unrefined corn oil

5 oz. vegetable stock (from a box or from here)

Rub your skinned and partly mashed garlic clove all over the inside of your baking dish. When the garlic juice is dry, grease the casserole thoroughly.

Toss the thinly sliced potatoes (and really, don’t skip the step of rinsing and drying them–it makes a difference to how they cook up) with the seasonings through the nutritional yeast. Layer a third of the potatoes into your prepared baking dish. Drizzle some of the nut oil over the potatoes. Repeat with two more layers of potatoes and oil.

Pour the stock over the potatoes and cover the dish with a lid or foil. Bake 20 minutes at 375° covered. Remove the lid or foil and bake another 20 minutes. The stock should be bubbling visibly, even in the center of the dish–and the potatoes on top should be golden and brown in spots. Let the Potatoes Dauphinois set for 10 minutes after they come out of the oven.

Creamy Potatoes Dauphinois

The measures given below are the basic multiplier for this dish. I generally double the volume given as a start point, but I’m also very fond of leftovers

1 clove garlic

fat to grease the pyrex-or-earthenware (for preference) shallow casserole

1 lb potatoes, scrubbed and sliced thinly with a mandoline or a food-processing attachment, then rinsed and patted dry

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

1/3 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 fat pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1 TBSP butter

5 oz. cream or half-and-half or whole milk (skim and 2% give a slightly Dickensian cast to the finished product)

Rub your skinned and partly mashed garlic clove all over the inside of your baking dish. When the garlic juice is dry, grease the casserole thoroughly.

Toss the thinly sliced potatoes (and really, don’t skip the step of rinsing and drying them–it makes a difference to how they cook up) with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Layer a third of the potatoes into your prepared baking dish. Dot a teaspoon of the butter over the potatoes. Repeat with two more layers of potatoes and butter.

Pour the cream or milk over the potatoes and cover the dish with a lid or foil. Bake 20 minutes at 375° covered. Remove the lid or foil and bake another 20 minutes. The Potatoes Dauphinois should be bubbling visibly, even in the center of the dish–and the potatoes on top should be golden and brown in spots. Let the them set for 10 minutes after they come out of the oven.

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Responses

  1. Y-U-M. Oh, yum. Sigh…


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