It was cold today in Los Angeles (actually, legitimately cold) and I wanted something to warm me up and accompany a cozy evening spent at home cooking and writing. Market Day for me is tomorrow when I’ll hit the local Farmer’s Market and stock up on fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables. But for now, it’s Saturday and there isn’t all that much left in the fridge from this past week. I pull out what I’ve got and take mental note: red potatoes, asparagus, green onions, kale and chard. I’ve got a bit of raw goat gouda and some organic milk. It’s perfect. On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times Food Section did a blurb on gratin. Inspiration. But I find their recipes are a bit complex and use ingredients I either don’t have or like to keep out (like flour and sausage). So I reference the Alice Waters/Chez Panisse Cookbook The Art of Simple Food that is my current obsession, and sure enough she has a simple and beautiful recipe for Potato Gratin. I made a few modifications such as swapping the called for yellow potatoes out for red. Red potatoes (from a nutritional standpoint) are easier to digest and lower on the glycemic index than yellow, thus making them lower in carbs and sugars. I also took her suggestion to place veggies between the layers of potatoes and was incredibly, blissfully pleased with the results. Minus the cutting of vegetables this was NO work at all. Simple and pure it truly accentuates the beauty of the seasonal vegetables that I used and it was the perfect winter evening meal. Perfectly satisfied my craving for warmth and the melted cheese and hearty veggies brought me contentment in all the best ways possible.
My photo does in no way bring justice to the deliciousness of this recipe.
Try it and I think you’ll agree.
Farmer’s Market Red Potato Gratin
8 small red potatoes
Assorted fresh, seasonal vegetables
1 cup organic milk
Approx. 3 1/2 tablespoons of butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Cheese (if desired). I used raw goat gouda.
1. Rub a 9 x 12 gratin (or casserole) dish with butter.
2. Thinly slice 8 small red potatoes (I never peel mine as there are nutrients in the peels — just wash them very well — but feel free to peel if that is your preference).
3. Make a layer of potato slices in the gratin dish, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle with fresh salt and ground pepper.
4. Make a layer with cut veggies. Use anything here you like. I used asparagus, green onion, chard and kale. You could essentially use any kind of vegetables or herbs and spices (i.e. garlic, chives…..)
5. Continue to make alternating layers of potatoes and vegetables. I ended up with 3 layers of potatoes and 2 hearty layers of vegetables. You don’t want to go beyond 5 or 6 layers — some cookbooks recommend less.
6. Carefully pour 1 cup mik over the layers.
7. Generously dot the top of the potatos with 3 tablespoons of cut butter.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour until browned and bubbling. Halfway through, take the dish out and press the potatoes flat with a metal spatula to keep the top moist. This is also the point when I sprinkled the top with shredded raw goat cheese (AMAZING). The gratin is done when the potatoes are soft and the top is golden brown.