Saturday, March 28, 2009

Potato and gruyere gratin

Hello everyone, last week I was having dinner at Young Alfred in Customs House with my American friend Chris and I commented to him that despite this being about my twentieth visit to YA, I had not yet persuaded any of my companions to choose the Surprise pizza on the menu (and I have certainly never been brave enough to try it myself). Chris being the courageous and daring person that he is promptly replied "Well, let's order it as a starter". Now up until then I hadn't realised that if you order it, although they won't tell you what is on it, you can declare any items you don't like and if by chance that day's surprise pizza does happen to be covered with your unfavourite ingredients the staff will steer you away from it. So we ordered it with the proviso no mushrooms (me) and no anchovies or mussels (Chris). Well, was I glad we took the plunge! It was beautiful. YA make the best pizza bases, they are very thin and crispy, and our surprise pizza had a lovely garlicky tomato sauce, thinly sliced ham, caramelised onion, goats curd and flat leaf parsley. I was so glad we did it! Now I'm going to order it whenever I go there! (Although who knows what the combination will be next time, I think it's whatever takes the chef''s fancy that day).

Now I know that I gave you a vegetable gratin dish last week and here is another one. This one is far more decadent and is an ode to my favourite vegetable, the potato. With a dish like this I tend to be quite generous with the quantities - if you think you need more cheese, for example, use more cheese. Or potato, or cream. Now that the evenings are getting cooler it's excusable to eat potatoes with cream.

Have a fabulous week. Love from Jane xx

Potato and gruyere gratin

Serves four as a side dish

What you need:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 100g gruyere cheese, grated and divided into two portions
  • 1 1/2 cups hot chicken stock
  • 1 cup cream

What you do:
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Grease a medium sized baking dish with the butter.
  3. Cover the base with the potato slices and season well, then sprinkle on some of the cheese.
  4. Gradually build up layers of potato and cheese until you have used all of the potato slices and one of the portions of cheese.
  5. Pour the hot stock over the potato and cheese and bake for 40 minutes.
  6. About ten minutes before the potato is due to come out of the oven, gently warm the cream but don't allow it to boil.
  7. Remove the potato from the oven and pour the warm cream over it.
  8. Sprinkle on the other half of the cheese and bake for a further 20 minutes, or until the cheese topping is lightly browned.