For dinner I made the easiest, most satisfying potato dish: a potato gratin. This evening I paired the gratin with some grilled garlic saucissons from Whole Foods, and a bottle of La Vieille Ferme Cotes-du-Ventoux.
I think the proper name for these potatoes is gratin dauphinois, but the name seems haughty for a dish that is so simple. I learned how to make these potatoes from my sister, Darcy, and it is one of our go-to meals during our summers in Annecy.
To make the gratin, preheat the oven to 425 and butter a shallow baking dish, such as a pie pan or gratin dish. To avoid the tedious job of peeling, I use small, thin skinned red or yellow potatoes, and cut the potatoes into 1/4 inch rounds, or coins.
I layer the potato rounds, salting each layer as I go, until the layers are nearly to the top of the baking dish. I pour on enough cream, half and half, or milk to almost-but-not quite cover the potatoes and bake in the oven until the top is bubbling, brown, and crispy.
Some recipes call for adding butter or creme fraiche, which you can certainly do. You can also add shallots or garlic or cheese, or spices such as mustard or nutmeg. Personally, I think the addition of other ingredients turns this dish into something entirely different, when all you really wanted was some simple potatoes, oui?