French Friday's with Dorie: pommes dauphinois
The real problem here is that these are so utterly good, that one cannot just take a small portion. With that said,, eating 25% of the pan, isn't all that unreasonable. Is it? In the past, I have always made Patricia Well's recipe, Gratin Dauphinois from her book At Home in Provence. I adore her books and have made many of her recipes, but her particular dish requires one to cook the potatoes in the cream and milk mixture, on the stove, before layering the pan, etc. An unnecessary step. Dorie's recipe beats out any other potato dish of this kind and this is my new "go-to" dish for those nights when I just don't have time to mess in the kitchen.
Potatoes au Gratin or "scalloped potatoes" as my dad endearingly referred to them as, was one of my dad's favorite dishes. He loved his food. And he loved his restaurants. He was a carbs kind of guy. Happily I admit, I am as well. As I tempered the cream and sliced the potatoes, all I could really think about was my dad. He would have loved these potatoes. And he would have told all his friends about them and he would have talked about them for weeks!
I got my passion for food from my dad. I can remember, even at 10 years old, a huge desire to go to the best restaurant I could find. If someone had mentioned something being the "best", I would make a mental note and hint a little hint to my dad. Growing up we were in no position to eat in these types of restaurants. But, there were those rare occasions when he'd step out and indulge.
I felt such pride the first time I ate at Scandia, Chasens, The Bel-Air Hotel, Spago, The Palm, Musso and Franks, and countless others. And as much as I enjoyed putting on my best outfit, my dad enjoyed it even more. He looked so good in a suit and the smile that stretched from ear to ear, knowing how excited I was, is a memory etched in the back of my brain. I know, if he could have, he would have done it a lot more than he had. Yet, just as much as my dad and I loved dressing up and going to the finest, we also loved a good burger at The Apple Pan, the fried eggs and salami at Nate 'n Als, the fried zucchini circles at The Hamburger Hamlet and the french onion soup at La Frite.
My life today, centers around food, the home, and my kitchen. At age 7, when I whipped up that first cake, from scratch, for my dad's birthday - the feeling was no different. So as I take another bite of these delicious potatoes, I say thank you to my dad for sharing his passion with me and I also say thank you to Dorie for bringing me back to a place in my life that I hold very, very near and dear to me.
around my french table
potato gratin (pommes dauphinois)