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|Time||50 minutes prep
40 minutes baking
- 5 medium sized waxy potatoes, peeled or not peeled
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped (smoked garlic is good for this dish if you can get it)
- ½ pint of reduced fat crème fraîche, single cream, or a mixture of semi-skimmed milk and crème fraîche
- 3 oz of good quality Gruyère, Challerhocker, or Emmentaler cheese, freshly grated. Swiss Appenzeller cheese is also a good choice. Please don't use cheddar!
- A lemon
- salt (such as sea salt) and pepper
- (optional) Fried pancetta, bacon cubes, or other cooked pork
- Preheat the oven to
- Slice the potatoes very thinly (about ⅛" thick), if possible using a mandoline to achieve evenness, and place them in some fresh water.
- Swish around the potatoes in the water to get rid of the starch, because that excess starch can make the dish a little unpleasant.
- Pour away the water and place the potatoes on a wooden surface. Then pat dry with a paper towel or kitchen towel, which is important because otherwise the remaining water will mix with the cream, causing curdling problems.
- Return the sliced potatoes to a bowl and add the cream and chopped garlic. Add a generous pinch of salt and some pepper.
- You can also add a few fresh herbs (thyme is particularly good) but this is up to you. But I suggest don't go over the top.
- Peel the zest of the lemon and add it to the mixture.
- Mix well, so the cream gives a good coating to all the potatoes.
- Some people tend to layer the potatoes in the heat proof bowl first and then pour the cream over. This, to my mind is a little unreliable as the cream does not diffuse through all the layers - and in any event the potatoes in a higgledy-piggledy pile in the bowl is much more attractive!
- Pile the potatoes into a buttered, oven-proof dish. The size is if course difficult to gauge but the potatoes should not be layered more than about 4 thick.
- Grate a generous amount of cheese, and spread over the mixture.
- Pop it all into the oven and leave until the top layer of cheese and potatoes are brown and the cream is bubbling and running down the side of the dish. This will take about 40 minutes.
- For a final flourish before serving, grate a goodly amount of fresh nutmeg over the cheese.