By far the most nostalgic in my gratin series. A spin on (or the classic inspiration for) Americanized potatoes au gratin that just so happens to be gluten free. Starch from the potatoes thickens the milk into a creamy sauce, so no glutinous flour is needed.
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 T + 1 t butter, divided
- 4 C whole milk
- 3 lbs. russet potatoes (5 large), sliced 1/16 to 1/8″ thick
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 t dried thyme
- 3 t sea salt, divided
- 2 large leeks, white parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- Fresh nutmeg, for grating (or 1/2 t ground nutmeg)
- 2 C grated fontina cheese
- 1 t ground white pepper
- Chopped parsley (optional garnish)
- Halve one of the garlic cloves and use the exposed surface to rub all over a 9 by 12 inch (or similar sized) baking dish. Grease the dish with 1 teaspoon of butter, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F).
- Fill a Dutch oven or medium pot with the milk, potatoes, bayleaf, thyme, leeks, and 2 teaspoons salt. Press potatoes down so milk covers almost all of them. Heat slowly to a boil, stirring frequently so milk doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pot. Reduce to a simmer, still stirring, for about 5 minutes, until potatoes are just tender enough to bite without crunching. Place a colander over a large bowl and drain potatoes, reserving the milk. Discard the bay leaf.
- Make a flat layer of one fourth of the potato mixture. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, a little nutmeg, and 1/3 cup of cheese. Repeat 3 more times, using up the last cup of cheese on top. Pour 2 to 3 cups of the reserved milk over the layers until nearly submerged. Cut 2 tablespoons butter into pea sized chunks and arrange on top of the assembled gratin.
- Bake about one hour, turning halfway through if the back of the dish is more browned on top. Cool at least 5 minutes before garnishing with parsley and serving.
Gluten free and vegetarian, if your cheese specifies vegetarian or otherwise non-animal rennet.
A mandolin is extremely helpful for speeding up the potato prep, the only time consuming part of the dish. I use and love this one.
Serves 8 to 10 as a hearty side dish.
- Prep Time: 35 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Side Dish
- Cuisine: Vegetarian