I am living in Paris for the Fall, but do not have much money to spend on restaurants. So I spend much of my time wandering the city and its many experiences gratuit, at the marchés and at home, living like a local, eating out of my own kitchen. My roommate, a good friend from London who loves food and French culture as much as I do, trades lots of recipes and tips for eating à la française.
One night I come home with some potatoes from that morning’s market to a hungry flatmate with just the recipe I need: le Gratin de Pommes de Terre…..
This is one of the simplest yet rewarding and oh so comforting, one pot meals that should be a back-pocket staple for everyone. It’s inexpensive and doesn’t take too much time. From that night in my tiny Parisian, hallway-sized kitchen came a rêverie that can only be clenched with this creation.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Boil the potatoes so that they are soft but not fully cooked, then slice thinly and put aside. Place the cream and cheese in a sauce pan fresh ground black pepper (to taste, I like tons) and stir slowly over low-medium heat, melting the cheese (do not overheat or the cheese will clump; go slow and steady). In a buttered casserole dish, begin a layer of potatoes, crumble chunks of butter and garlic evenly, and top with a covering of the cheesy cream. Continue this layering until the dish is full. Bake until the top is golden brown.
***For Vegan eaters, this is still just as successful with nut or other alternatives. I like Cashew milk for its creaminess, Soy butter for its consistency or Olive Oil for a more aromatic flavor, and either a Cashew ricotta or Shredded Nut Cheese (almond/cashew).***