Apart from its fancy French name, Potato Gratin, or baked potatoes, is real smart dish to make if you’ve got guests coming round to dine on short notice. While the dish is cooking by itself in the oven, you’re free to make other kinds of food.
- Using medium-sized potatoes, place them all in the baking dish of choice. TIP! This gives you a rough estimate of how many potatoes you need to fill the entire dish.
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into 5mm thick disks. Place the potato disks into a mixing bowl as you go along. TIP! If you’re using sweet potatoes, you can choose to leave the skin on, just make sure you scrub them well clean.
- Season with minced garlic, thyme, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a good lug of olive oil. If you’re extravagant, use melted butter in place of olive oil.
- After ensuring that all disks are coated with the seasoning well, arrange the pieces nicely in the (buttered) baking dish, either in rows or in a round (as in picture above).
- Drizzle a round of cream (double cream, if you want), making sure every disk has a little lick of cream.
- Cover with foil and chuck it in the oven for 20 minutes at 180ªC.
- While that’s happening, you can prepare a lovely gravy and/or glazed vegetables.
- After 20 minutes, the potatoes should be almost done, if not already soft. Remove the foil and taste a piece, adjust seasoning accordingly, bearing in mind that the cheese you are about to add can be salty.
- Drizzle another round of cream.
- Grate Parmesan over the top. Cheddar or any other hard cheese works as well.
- Finally, put it back in the oven uncovered, for another 10 minutes, or until the top is gently browned.
Butter-roasted fillet of crisp-skin salmon, a fondant potato, on a bed of fennel and carrot salsa, with fresh arugula, seared cherry tomatoes and a slice of lemon.
- In a skillet, continuously baste the fillet of fish with foaming butter.
- When done, rest on kitchen towel.
- Peel off the skin of the salmon and dry-fry it.
- Sear the potato in a small pot of butter, till brown. Repeat on the other side.
- Add a bit of stock to boil it once the potato has been browned on both sides. Potato is done once it can be easily pierced through its side.
Fennel and Carrot Salsa
- With a teaspoon of vegetable oil in a skillet, fry minced shallots till transparent.
- Toss in chopped carrots and fennel.
- Add in a small bowl of tomato juice and reduce.
- Season accordingly.
Serve with fresh arugula, seared cherry tomatoes and a slice of lemon.
Yes, even though it doesn’t seem so, the fondant potato is the star of the show. I tried my hand at this new way of doing potatoes: letting it bubble and boil away in a truck-load of butter till brown and done, and then repeating on the other side. Also, this involves adding a bit of stock towards the end just so the butter doesn’t go burning till black. Each side takes approximately 10-15 minutes; you’d know it’s done with you can stick a fork or knife right through the side easily. You might say it’s just about deep-frying a potato, I think.
Roast beef with a red wine jus. Served with fondant potato, carrot julienne, wilted spinach and buttered mushrooms.
Being the carnivore that I am, I cannot deny that the chunks of juicy red wine flavoured medium-rare beef stole the show. Nevertheless, I’m not limited to simply mashing, boiling and roasting potatoes.