This is the best gratin dauphinoise potato I have tasted and was a regular accompaniment to rack of lamb and rib of beef at the Capital Hotel in London when I worked there. It came via Pierre Gleize, an early adviser to the Capital, who owns and cooks at La Bonne Étape in south-eastern France.
The dish is a course on its own. It is creamy and garlicky and yet doesn’t lose the flavour of potato. If you have a choice, use potatoes that aren’t too floury. They will hold together better when cooked.
I have split the recipe into two stages because that is how I cook it, preparing most of the dish in advance. You may, of course, proceed directly from the first to the second stage if you prefer. The grated cheese is optional and I now use it less often, especially when the gratin is to partner meat.
Jabron potatoes converted my Uncle Frank to garlic. A conservative in dress and taste, he associated garlic only with the breath and armpit smells of the rush-hour London Underground as it lurches from north to west across the city. As a proper Englishman he was convinced that it was garlic which differentiated our island race from the wops. Imagine his surprise then at how good this very garlicky dish tastes and the realisation that the problems of Tottenham Court Road’s tube station were not dietary – merely absence of deodorant and toothpaste.
© 1990 Shaun Hill. All rights reserved.