Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Sunday meal

Growing up French, the apotheosis of the week, was the Sunday lunch. A tradition of family togetherness, of a rich meal prepared with wine reduced gravy and finished off with a platter of fancy pastries ( 2 a piece), wine, espresso, leisure and pleasure followed by either a nap or a brisk walk depending on your age and urgent desire to experiencece more of life....
My father was, as they called them sometimes, a meat and potato man. He liked his roastbeef bloody and his fries golden. Since I never liked red meat, I would invariably request a double laddle of mashed potatoes with a pond of said gravy, or a generous pile of nicely crusted cubes of sauteed new potatoes..... As a new arrival to this country, I sorely missed the dominical pause with a good meal.What, a quick sandwich will do, a salad and a hike will suffice ??? May be it was the family that I missed more then. Last Sunday morning, Significant announced that he would like a nice French meal for lunch. It was a wonderful key word,a magical call to revisit a moment of pleasure and may be.... potatoes.Just because I am totally in love with potatoes right now and I want to tackle as many recipes as I can find using the wonderful spud. I will tell you another time of my patatas bravas success, but the other day, since I had some cream and gruyere on hand: a gratin would do.served with a herb omelette and a red cote du rhone. I felt back there, in mouth and spirit.

Gratin Dauphinois:
5 or 6 small to medium size organic russets
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 cup of half and half
1 cup of grated gruyere( cave aged)
sprinkling of nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste( I rather like a lot of each)

peel potatoes, toos them in bowl of cold water and slice them thinly ( I use the mandolin for evenness)
overlap them, salt ,pepper and nutmeg to your taste, cover first layer with half a cup of cheese and the garlic, repeat the overlap of potatoes, pour your cream or half and half, pressing it down slightly , top with remaining cheese and spicing as needed.
cook in preheated oven at 400o for about 35 minutes or until a golden crust has formed.

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