Every once in a while you need a hug. You need some comfort. You need your friends to lift you up. September was such a busy month, and it was on the heels of a really tough week at the end of August, which I shall forever call “The Dark Ages,” and then there was the whole turning 40 thing. Frankly, I had been mentally and physically exhausted despite all the interesting things I’ve been up to. I am so lucky to have neighbors that fill this need.
We were invited to a small dinner to catch up. It had been a while since I had seen several folks, and this was a chance to just sit and enjoy a beautiful fall evening with some great friends. We chatted and munched on the most delicious food. One couple had brought over hummus and baba ganoush, and a cauliflower mash (delish!). And me… in my need for comfort (food)… I brought over some potato gratin. The hosts provided the most delicious steaks and homemade bread. Of course, there was plenty of wine to share. This wasn’t just comfort food, it was great food in great company, and that made it so much more delicious.
Herbed Potato Gratin
- 5 large red potatoes, sliced
- 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 2 c gruyere cheese, grated (one wedge)
- 1 Tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp thyme, chopped
- 1 1/2 c heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 c panko breadcrumbs
Slice the potatoes on a mandolin, just over 1/8 inch thick. In a large oiled cast iron pan, place one layer of potatoes (1/3 of the pieces) in a neat circular pattern. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the onions and garlic, and 1/3 of the salt, pepper, nutmeg, herbs and cheese. Press down on the layer slightly to condense. Place another layer of potatoes (1/3 of the pieces) in a circular pattern and repeat. For the final layer, put the final pieces of potato in a circular pattern, and sprinkle with the remaining salt, pepper, nutmeg, herbs and cheese. Pour the cream over the top of the potatoes. Dot the top with 1 Tbsp of butter cut into 5 pieces. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top of the potatoes and dot with another 1 Tbsp of butter cut into 5 pieces. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.
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