Gratin Dauphinois - Oh, so yummy and delicious! This goes great as a side dish to so many main dishes (beef, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb) and even could be part of a "vegetable" platter-type dinner. This recipe is the Julia Child version from my favorite: Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume One. If you want, you can even make it ahead a little and reheat/finish cooking just before serving (see directions for this at the end with "**")
2 lbs boiling potatoes
1/2 clove unpeeled garlic
4 T butter
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
4 oz (1 cup) grated Swiss cheese
1 c boiling milk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. peel the potatoes and slice them 1/8 inch thick. Place in a large bowl (or sink) of cold water. Drain when ready to use.
Rub the baking dish with the cut garlic. Smear the inside of the dish with 1 T of the butter. Drain the potatoes and dry them on a towel. Spread half of them in the bottom of the dish. Divide over them half the salt, pepper, cheese and butter. Arrange the remaining potatoes of ther first layer, and season them. Spread on the rest of the cheese and dicide the butter over it. Pour on the boiling milk. Set baking dish over heat and when simmering, set in upper third of preheated oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, milk has been absorbed, and the top is nicely browned. (As the oven is hot, and the dish shallow, the potatoes cook quickly.)
**You may hold the dish for half an hour, loosely covered, over simmering water. For a longer wait, stop intial cooking just before all milk has evaporated. Set aside uncovered. Shortly before serving, dot with 2 T of butter, reheat on the top of stove, and set in a 425-degree oven for 5-10 minutes to finish cooking.
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