One of my all time favourite dishes is potato dauphinoise. Soft and melting potatoes, slowly cooked in a rich,creamy, buttery sauce. Yumm… I absolutely adore them and can’t think of anything more warming and comforting to come home to on a wet and windy autumn evening (of which we have a fair few here in Wales). The one problem when you have hungry kids and you’ve just come in from work is that they take so long to cook and what I want as much as comforting food when I get in from work is quick food.
My pleasure was complete when I found a recipe for quick dauphoise in Jamie Oliver’s book ’30 minute meals’. I was given the book by my mum, who I think had got it for someone else but it turned out they had it. I’m very grateful for this recipe alone because it actually works! I have found through experience that there really is no point in trying to cook a dauphinoise quickly. You either get undercooked potatoes, a burnt top or the cream doesn’t have a chance to really soak into the potatoes so that they melt in the mouth. In this recipe Jamie uses Parmesan and olive oil for richness instead of butter and single cream to make it a little lighter.
1 red onion thinly sliced
1 kg Maris Piper potatoes
grating of nutmeg
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
300 ml single cream
small bunch of fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to gas mark 7, 220 degrees C. Wash potatoes and leave the skins on. thinly slice on a mandolin or in a food processor. Tip the onion and potatoes into a large roasting tray and season with salt and pepper. Grate over a pinch of nutmeg, add the garlic, pour over the cream and grate over a good handful of parmesan. Add the bay leaf and some chopped fresh thyme then mix it all together with your hands. Put the tray over a medium heat and pour in 200 ml of boiled water. Cover tightly with foil and leave on the heat, giving the tray an occasional shake to make sure it doesn’t stick. Leave for 10 minutes or so.
Take the foil off the potatoes, grate over another layer of parmesan, add a few more thyme leaves and drizzle with some olive oil and stick in the oven for about 15 minutes until its bubbling and golden brown.
I served mine with a grated carrot and ginger salad and mixed winter leaves with the last of the Moelyci cucumbers, feta and roasted red peppers (preserved in oil).
It’s important to remember that the secret to Jamie’s quick dauphinoise is to really slice those potatoes thinly and it does work, although I would argue that it’s still not quite the same as a slowly cooked one, but it still made a fantastic, quick vegetarian supper for the family.