This recipe is adapted from one that a friend in Paris gave me and, as with most French recipes, each cook seems to have their own version. If you take a look at Le Gratin Dauphinois, you will see recipes for several hundred version of this very simple, but elegant dish.
Serves 4 to 6
1 clove fresh garlic, cut in half
2 pounds of russet or baking potatoes (substitute yukon gold if you prefer), peel and slice very thin (use a mandoline if available)
6 ounces of Gruyere or Comté cheese, freshly shredded or grated (or more cheese if you prefer)
1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of whole milk
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Rub a gratin dish or oven proof bowl ( 2-quart size) with the garlic. Layer 1/2 of the potato slices in the gratin dish and add a pinch of salt & pepper, to taste. Top with 1/3 of the cheese and layer the remaining potatoes on top. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Pour the cream and then the milk into the dish until the potatoes are almost covered. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese and cover with aluminum foil. Place in the center of the oven on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil, sprinkle the remaining 1/3 of the cheese on top and continue to bake until the potatoes are cooked through and the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.
If the remainder of you dinner is not ready, you can turn off the heat and leave the potatoes in the oven for another 15 to 30 minutes. The gratin will continue to brown in the receding heat. Serve immediately.