rooting for fall

By Twinkle Vanwinkle

This rich, layered dish pairs savory with sweet, stacking sweet potatoes, Yukon golds and red bliss potatoes with slivered onions and fresh herbs, all generously brushed with creamy butter. Where potatoes gratin are pre-cooked, potatoes — pommes, if you’re fancy — dauphinoise are finely sliced and nestled, uncooked, into their butter-laden layers.

Potatoes Dauphinoise
Serves 8 to 12

1 cup unsalted butter, melted

Sprigs of fresh thyme and/or rosemary

Chopped chives

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 yellow onion, slivered

5 pounds of potatoes, washed well and dried (a mixture of sweet, Yukon golds and red bliss)

1½ to 2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-
Reggiano cheese

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

» Preheat oven to 350 F. Use a teaspoon of the butter to grease the bottom and sides of an 8-by-8-inch baking dish, or an 8-inch cake pan. Cut a piece of parchment to fit the bottom of the pan, brush with butter and then layer in fresh herbs of your choice (rosemary, thyme and chopped chives will work well). Create a pretty scene with your herbs, or simply distribute them evenly, with little or no overlap, in the bottom of the dish. Lay a few onion slices on the bottom as well.

» Carefully slice potatoes and onions very thinly using a mandoline or slicer attachment on a food processor. Begin creating thin layers of slices in the baking dish; sprinkle each layer with a small pinch (to taste) of salt and pepper.

» Drizzle melted butter over the top; layer in some of the onion slivers and a sprinkle of Parmesan. Repeat with another double layer of potato, then onion, etc. Repeat the alternate slicing/layering steps until the baking dish is filled within 1/2 inch of the top; press down on the layers as you work to ensure you build as many layers as possible. Drizzle the remaining butter over the top and sprinkle on the rest of the cheese if any remains. Cover dish with aluminum foil and place on a baking pan.

» Bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil. Bake for another 15 minutes uncovered. The top of potatoes should be browned and butter should be bubbling from the sides. Wait for 10 to 15 minutes to let it settle, then flip it out on an upside down baking pan, top with freshly grated nutmeg and run under the broiler to brown the herbs and onions. Let cool slightly and slide onto a serving dish before slicing.