This is a very easy dish to serve when you have guests as it requires no work at the last minute. It also goes well as a side to most meats. Of course, it is a kind of scalloped potatoes but the preparation is quite different and it really has a unique taste.
Original Recipe from the Dauphiné:
The potatoes (Yukon Gold or baking potatoes work well) are peeled, French people do not eat potato skins, ever! I think they would choke…. Then, they have to be sliced very, very thin, 1/16th of an inch or less… I know, but it is key. Some food processors have a blade that will give you that thickness, adjustable mandolines will too. By hand, it takes a sharp thin-blade knife and practice and patience. As soon as the potatoes are sliced rinse them in cold water, then put them in a bowl with ice-cold water for 1/2 h. While you wait, get a Le Creuset gratin dish and rub the bottom using two cloves of garlic cut in half. The juice of the garlic coats the entire bottom. Add two or three nut-size cubes of butter. Drain and dry the potatoes in a terry towel. Then, arrange them in a neat roof-tile pattern in layers. Between each layer, add sea salt, a twist of your favorite Peugeot pepper grinder, and a tiny sprinkle of nutmeg. Make sure that there is at least one inch left between the potatoes and the top of your dish to prevent spills. The top layer should look the best, so save your most even slices for the pattern. Next, you have a few options to cover the potatoes. At home, most people use Homo milk, at the restaurant a combination of Homo Milk and heavy cream. Lately, I have used half and half or 10% cream , both creates a rich taste without too much fat. Bake 75 to 80 minutes on medium heat. If all the liquid is gone, add a little cream at the end to prevent dryness. Serve directly from the gratin dish.
Note: No cheese in the original recipe. You read this correctly, there is NO cheese ever in Gratin dauphinois.
The Savoyard version calls for Gruyère cheese or Beaufort cheese and broth, instead of milk and cream. It is also really good. You use a chicken broth and sprinkle with lots of Gruyère on the top layer.
I don’t really like nutmeg in Gratin dauphinois so I never use any. I only use nutmeg in cauliflower au gratin. Oregano is a good substitute to nutmeg.
Last: washing/draining/drying the potatoes sounds like overkill, but it is essential to prevent all sorts of problems like watery sauce, chewy potatoes, etc…