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Originally published in the Journal de Montréal on November 8, 2008.
Gratin dauphinois (or scalloped potatoes) is a dish that gets its name from the Dauphiné region in the southeast of France. It consists primarily of potatoes that are slowly cooked in the oven, with milk or cream. As with all traditional dishes, there is no one single recipe. The purists (and the people of the Dauphiné region) will tell you that if you add cheese (emmental, grated gruyere, etc.) – even though the original recipe does not contain any – this addition will transform the dish into a gratin savoyard, which is a variation from the region of Savoy.
This gratin can be made with any variety of potatoes, except the ‘new’ ones. This is because the latter contains very little starch, which is essential for the gratin sauce. I prefer to use the Russet variety, also called Idaho – or even better, the yellow ones, also known as Yukon Gold. Gratin dauphinois goes well with meats and it is excellent even on the following day, when reheated. The possible addition of cheese transforms the gratin into a main dish that can be accompanied by a very simple green salad.
Try our recipe for Scalloped Potatoes