Gratin is a widespread culinary technique in food preparation in which an ingredient is topped with a browned crust, often using breadcrumbs, grated cheese, egg and/or butter. Gratin originated in French cuisine and is usually prepared in a shallow dish of some kind. A gratin is baked or cooked under an overhead grill to form a golden crust on top and is traditionally served in its baking dish.
Try this out as an alternative to roast potatoes for a change with the traditional Sunday roast.
100g of unsalted melted butter
1.3kg (about 3 pounds) of potatoes, peeled and washed
A good amount of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
3 Tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
3 cloves of finely grated garlic
230g of grated Cheddar cheese (mild, or mature if you prefer)
120g of grated Parmesan cheese
1 large tomato cored and very thinly sliced
220ml of double cream
200ml of fresh chicken stock (supermarkets sell this in tubs)
75g of fresh breadcrumbs
75g of golden breadcrumbs (shop bought)
Preheat the oven to 180C (160C for fan).
Brush the bottom and sides of a large baking dish (about 9×13) with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter.
Add the grated garlic to the remaining butter and mix well.
Slice two of the potatoes as thinly as possible. Arrange a single layer of the potatoes on the bottom of the baking dish. Top with a second layer of potatoes.
Brush the potatoes lightly with a portion of the melted butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, about 2 teaspoons of the thyme, 2 tablespoons of the cheddar, and 30g of the Parmesan.
Slice and add 2 more layers of potatoes, brush lightly with the melted garlic butter.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper, about 2 teaspoons of the thyme, about 30g of the Cheddar, and 30g of the Parmesan.
Add a single layer of tomatoes and top with a little seasoning, thyme, a sprinkling of the cheeses and butter.
Continue this process with two more layers of potatoes.
Press firmly with the palm of your hand to pack all of the ingredients together. Brush again with melted butter, sprinkle with the remaining thyme, season lightly with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the remaining Cheddar.
In a small bowl, combine both varieties of the bread crumbs. Pour the cream and the chicken stock over the potatoes and top with the bread crumb mixture.
Drizzle the remaining butter over the bread crumb mixture and bake, covered with foil, for 45-50 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes longer or until the gratin is bubbling and golden on top and the potatoes are soft when pierced with the tip of a sharp paring knife.
Let it rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.