Easter is a time for us to reflect on the true meaning it holds for us, as church-going Christians should. I consider this to be as important a holiday as I do Christmas-- if not a bit more. I've stopped making reservations for Easter brunch years ago-- too crowded and expensive. I still like to invite close family members and a friend or two, to celebrate Easter. This year, I decided to make a ham dinner-- which isn't my personal favorite, but I'm the only one who feels that way. My husband loves ham, so ham it shall be. I'll be sharing how I made this glazed ham, that turned out great, along with the rest of my Easter menu-- later on in the week.
As a side dish, sweet potatoes came to mind. It seemed so traditional.
Then, I remembered a recipe I posted back in December 2008-- one of my very first posts. The picture wasn't pretty (that's before I learned that flash photography and food don't mix well). In fact, I had "zero" comments, and that doesn't surprise me. I found the recipe in Bon Appétit, in the same year. It was a good one, so I decided to make it again and take better pictures. The recipe begins with Yukon Gold potatoes and Sweet Potatoes, sliced very thin and placed in water. (My mandoline made this very easy to do.) I didn't peel the Yukon Gold's, but I washed them really well.
Spring has brought my herb garden back to life-- and I appreciate that I had all four types herbs for this recipe. Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme (humming Simon & Garfunkel). Dried herbs won't cut it, so go for fresh!
You'll need about 5 ounces of Gruyere Cheese. It's a bit pricey (about $15.00 a pound), but it's so worth it.
The prep work takes about 15-20 minutes. Of course, a food processor (and mandoline) makes this go faster. Grate the cheese-- should be about 1-1/4 cup.
Chop your fresh herbs-- about 1 Tablespoon of each.
Drain the potatoes, and blot them dry with a paper towel. In one bowl, mix about 1-1/2 tsp. sea salt and 3/4 tsp. coarse black pepper. Combine your herbs in another bowl.
The fat gram police are here, but ignore them. In a sauce pan, pour in two cups of heavy cream. Don't switch to milk, reduced milk or skim milk. There are times to just savor the creaminess of a dish, and this is one of them. Add 1/2 stick of butter, 2 minced garlic cloves and bring to a simmer; remove from heat.
Butter a 13×9×2-inch glass baking dish. However, I cut the recipe back a bit, so I used a smaller casserole dish, and less potatoes. I still made the same amount of cream-- as I'd rather have too much than not enough. Layer half the potatoes, evenly in the dish. Sprinkle half the salt & pepper, and half the herbs.
Evenly sprinkle half the grated cheese. Repeat with one more layer.
Pour cream mixture over gratin, pressing lightly to submerge potato mixture as much as possible.
NOTE: I didn't add all of the creme, because I made a note that by submerging the potatoes (the first time I made this) it was too much. I filled the dish just to the top of the potatoes..
DO AHEAD: Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.Remove plastic wrap before baking.
Cover with foil and bake at 400F in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes; remove the foil, then bake for about 25 more minutes. NOTE: You could make individual ramekins, though I'm not sure what the total baking time would be.
Wow! I will tell you that I saw a lot of oil/fat on the surface. I'm not sure why, but I'm guessing from the cheese? I carefully tipped the dish over the kitchen sink, pressed with a spatula (so it wouldn't slip into the sink) and drained it.
This side dish was the hit of the Easter menu.
TASTING NOTES: Yukon Gold Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Heavy Cream, Butter and Cheese. Do I really need to describe how good this is? The herbs are what takes this to a new level. There were no leftovers. People went back for seconds. 'Nuff said.
I'm glad that I remade this dish, and my photos are much better than three years ago. I deleted that old post, in fact. A printable recipe card is at the bottom of this post. If you can't view it (not sure if Key Ingredient fixed the bug that Internet Explorer wasn't compatible with their new formatted recipe cards), then click here to view it.