A Comforting Classic

From this...

Potatoes Dauphinoise or Dauphinois.

Of course, it's a comforting dish! Even before I share with you the list of ingredients, you know--you just know--this dish has to be comforting. Of course! It's a potato dish! Brilliant!

The classic recipe uses peeled & sliced/scalloped russet potatoes, milk, butter, fresh herbs, salt and pepper.

I use: peeled & sliced/scalloped russet potatoes, cream, fresh sage and/or thyme, butter, salt and pepper. Often you find recipes with cheese, but it's just not necessary. The simple and elegant preparation allows you to savor the subtle qualities of the humble and versatile potato. All bow to the potato. Swoon!

Ingredients (with approximate quantities for 1 pie dish):
4 large russet potatoes, peeled
1 cup whipping cream (also called heavy cream)
1 t. chopped fresh sage or thyme (or a combination of both)
freshly cracked black pepper
1-2 oz salted butter (preferably room temp)
1 t olive oil (for brushing dish)

This is how I do it.

I use one deep pie dish. This will serve 6-8 people. If you have leftovers for tomorrow's breakfast, lucky you!

I brush the pie dish lightly with olive oil, then peel and slice the potatoes using a hand-held mandoline*. I keep all of the sliced potatoes in a bowl filled with cold water to keep them from turning brown. Everything else is ready to go, including the chopped herbs. 

Assembly is easy. Place the potato slices on a kitchen towel and pat lightly to remove most of the water. Gather a handful of slices and begin spreading the potatoes in an overlapping circle at the outermost part of the dish, working your way inwards in a spiral. Sprinkle lightly with salt, freshly cracked black pepper and half of the chopped herbs (which are optional). Build a second layer on top of the first and pour the cream over the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and the rest of the herbs. Dot the top with the butter.

Bake in a 385F oven. Use the lower half of the oven, so the top of your dish doesn't burn before the center is cooked. The cream will bubble and the top and bottom of the potatoes will turn a crispy, golden-brown color. The center will be soft and creamy.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. This will also help the cream to set up a bit.

And a teeny bit of extra info for your dinner conversation: Pommes Dauphinoise and Pommes Anna are so similar, the main difference being that the Anna version is made with butter only and the Dauphinoise is made with milk or cream. Kissing cousins in the potato recipe family!