Damon Lee Fowler

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In History's Kitchen

18 April 2014 Easter IV—The Potatoes

April 18, 2014

Tags: Easter Dinner, Potatoes, Potato Gratin, Classic French Cooking

Classic French pommes de terre gratinée (potato gratin)
Regardless of whether you choose lamb or ham (or neither—or both) for your Easter feast, nothing will make the dinner seem quite as special as will this classic French gratin. The ingredients are simple and few, and the preparation requires almost no real skill on the part of the cook, but you will not finding anything more elegant and yet elementally satisfying to eat. (more…)

25 September 2011: Christ Church Episcopal Potato Gratin

September 25, 2011

Tags: Christ Church Episcopal, Savannah, Potatoes, Classic French Cooking, Potato Gratin

Today was our Parish's old-fashioned picnic, and a lot of friends asked for the recipe for the potato gratin that I always bring to it. It's just a classic French gratin of potatoes with cream and Gruyere cheese, kicked up a notch with country ham and sage. It's the perfect dinner party dish, because it's easy, elegant, can be served in its baking dish, and is a real crowd pleaser.

Here's the recipe.

Christ Church Episcopal Potato Gratin, A.K.A. French Potato Gratin with Country Ham and Sage
Serves 10

2 large yellow onions, trimmed, split lengthwise, peeled, and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds russet (baking potatoes, about 4 large)
2 cups (1 pint carton) heavy cream
1 ounce country ham (1 slice) or prosciutto, cut into fine julienne
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 ½ cups (8 ounces) grated Gruyere cheese
Salt and whole white or black pepper in a peppermill
Whole nutmeg in a grater

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400° F. Generously butter a 10x15 2½-3 quart gratin or baking dish (I use a Le Creuset enameled iron 3-quart gratin dish.)

2. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and evenly colored a deep gold, about 10-15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, peel and thinly slice the potatoes with a sharp knife, mandoline, or food processor. Mix the potatoes with the onion, cream, prosciutto, sage, and 2 cups of Gruyere in a large bowl. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste and toss well.

4. Pour into the prepared casserole, pressing down and leveling the top, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes and reduce the heat to 350°. Bake about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until potatoes are very tender and bubbly at the center and the top is golden brown. Serve hot or warm.

Selected Works

Cookbooks
A collection of more than twenty-five years of writing about and teaching the history and techniques of the cooking of my native American South, the collection of cuisines that we loosely call Southern Cooking.
A portrait of Savannah's growing restaurant scene in recipes and stories.
A Celebration of the Cuisine of the Old South, hailed as a modern classic and Bible of Southern Foodways.
A loving portrait of a proud old port city in recipes
Classical Southern Cooking in today's kitchen
Traditional Southern Baking for modern cooks
A sampling of the South's Cookery for the hundreds of regional fruits and vegetables.
Seventy five recipes that were documented to have been used at Mr. Jefferson's Monticello during his lifetime, translated for use in a modern kitchen, with essays by the Foundation's curatorial staff.

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