There are so many really delicious recipes and yet so little time to revisit each one! At least it feels that way, especially when it seems you've been cooking for a couple of lifetimes.
Peter and I went shopping for a new bookcase for my study several weekends ago. The time was ripe, you see, for my study had become more cluttered than his. Being second-time-arounders in our early 50s (with no children at home), we have the luxury of having our own 'play rooms'. Every time Peter came in to sit with me at my desk for a chat, he complained that he had to 'climb over a mountain' of cookery books and tall piles of printed recipes. Of course, you and I know that men tend to exaggerate these things, it really wasn't that bad. Nevertheless I was keen to establish some fresh law and order with my many hundreds of books. In our favourite secondhand furniture store (a fabulous shop called Aardvark) we found a tall, good looking and sturdy unit that matches the rest of our bookshelves and my kitchen dresser; and it has glass doors. I love it!
Anyhoo, as I was sorting through my cookbooks, I poured over the pages of each one and found recipes from a former lifetime... that is, long time family favourites that I used to cook when I was previously married. That's when I remembered this low fat version of scalloped potatoes published in 2002 in Low Fat Feasts in the Australian Women's Weekly (AWW) stable. I think Food Director, Pamela Clark, may have cooked this on one of the occasions that she visited the cooking school. It was a winner of a recipe then and still is!
There are many versions of layered baked potatoes cooked the French way: Boulangère (or Baker's oven) comprised of potatoes, onions and stock; and then there's Anna, made from potatoes and ghee; and Gratin Gaté (who always says I remind him of his sister), describes as 'rich and satisfying'. According to Larousse Gastronomique, Gratin Lans, Villard de Lans, Autrans and Sassenage). The potatoes are cut into taillons (round slices) and arranged with single cream in a gratin dish which has been rubbed with garlic and buttered. However, Gratin dauphinois is often made by pouring a mixture of eggs, milk and cream over the potato slices and sprinkling the dish with grated cheese'. Some versions have a Gruyère cheese topping, others do not.
So, back to the recipe at hand. What I really liked about it the first time I ever cooked it was that you can have French style scalloped potatoes without all the fat, and it still tastes delicious... especially as leftovers reheated on the second day. Here's my take on the AWW recipe. I have tweaked some of the quantities and swapped the brown onions for eschalots, which I find are sweeter in flavour. Do hope you will try it, I think you may be very pleasantly surprised.
SCALLOPED POTATOES GRATIN DAUPHINOIS
5 small-medium sized new potatoes (approximately 1kg), thinly sliced
2-3 large eschalots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
a light mist of EVOO spray
3/4 cup light (low fat) sour cream
100mls vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Saute the eschalot and garlic in a small frypan sprayed with a light mist of EVOO, cook until tender. Layer the slices of potato with the cooked eschalot and garlic in four ramekins (lightly greased). Combine the sour cream and stock in a jug and whisk till smooth. Pour equal amounts into each ramekin, over the potato and eschalot layers. Sprinkle the top of each with freshly ground pepper and place an extra dollop of the low fat sour cream on top, then finish with the grated cheese. Bake, covered, for 45 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the cheese topping is golden. Finish off under the grill if you like your cheese well browned. Serves 4.
étape par étape...
Tell me, in your repertoire are there any favourites that you haven't made in ages that you feel you really would like to cook again?
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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- Liz Posmyk
NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.