My daughter wanted to try home made au gratin potatoes and this is how I remember them form my early days in the USA.
Potatoes au gratin
As the name implies, this is a baked potato dish with a classic grilled cheese top. The key is to have creamy, well cooked slices of potato with a well browed and crunchy cheese topping
5 large russet potatoes peeled and sliced to 1/8″ or a bit thinner
1 clove of fresh garlic minced (optional)
half a cup of diced onions
4 tbs butter
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 cup of whole milk
1/2 cup cream
salt to taste
2 cup shredded cheese (rennet free Emmentaler or cheddar)
1/2 cup shaved or grated parmesan or asiago
Peel and slice the potatoes and toss with salt and pepper till the slices are well coated.
preheat oven to 400 F.
Melt the butter in a saute pan and add chili flakes, then the onions, and then the garlic, and stir till the onions clear. Now sprinkle the flour and stir for two minutes. Slowly add the milk and keep stirring until it begins to simmer, Add the bay leaves and keep stirring till the flour thickens. Then add 1/2 the cream and remove from heat and set aside.
Lightly butter a shallow baking dish and add a layer of potato slices and then some of the onion bechamel. Sprinkle with the shredded cheese and then a second and third layer of the same. When all the potatoes have been added, drizzle the remaining cream. Cover with a generous sprinkling of the shredded cheese.
Bake covered with foil for 40 min on the top oven shelf. Then remove the cover and sprinkle the grated cheeses and bake for another 30 min. Remove and check the potatoes for softness and cook for a few minutes longer as needed. The baking time will necessarily vary based on your oven. If necessary, broil on high for 5 – 8 minutes to form a golden-brown crust.
Add a simple green salad with a balsamic dressing and a side of steamed asparagus or broccolini will make a perfect winter meal.