Fifteen-Layer Potato Gratin 12.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Nov 19, 2014

This is not your everyday potato gratin. It's a prep-heavy, restaurant-style one -- perfect for the holidays, when you want to impress the family. The key is to slice the potatoes paper thin, as thin as you can on a mandoline. Toss out any slices thicker than 1/16th of an inch.

The recipe is also easy to customize: You can adjust the garlic, cheese, nutmeg and salt. Keep in mind that salt levels increase when you add extra cheese.

Make Ahead: The unbaked dish can be assembled, wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance. Unwrap and bring to room temperature before baking.


Servings:
12 - 16

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 12-16 servings

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at a cool room temperature
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 to 5 large russet potatoes (4 pounds total)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions

Use the butter to grease the bottom and sides of an 8-by-8-inch baking dish, preferably Pyrex (to better see the layers). Combine the cream and garlic in a bowl.

Peel 4 of the potatoes, submerging each one in a bowl of cool water as you finish peeling it.

Dry one potato at a time, then carefully use a mandoline to slice it very thinly. Create two thin layers of slices in the baking dish, then sprinkle with a small pinch each of the salt (or to taste) and the pepper. Drizzle a tablespoon of the cream-garlic mixture over the top. Repeat with another double layer of potato, then sprinkle evenly with a pinch of the nutmeg and about 2 tablespoons of the cheese.

Repeat the alternate slicing/layering steps until the baking dish is filled within 1/2 inch of the top; press down on the layers as you work to make sure you build as many layers as possible. Peel and use the remaining potato as needed.

Drizzle the last of the cream-garlic mixture and sprinkle the last of the cheese over the top of the final potato layer. Let the dish rest while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the dish on a baking sheet, if desired; cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for about 40 minutes, then remove the foil. Bake for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted into the gratin meets no resistance. The top of the gratin should be browned and bubbling. (If it isn't, you can use a culinary torch to brown the top.)

Wait for 10 to 15 minutes before serving; that will make it easier to cut into portions.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from a recipe by chef Susan Watterson, co-founder of CulinAerie in the District.

Tested by Tim Carman.

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