Wednesday, October 7, 2009
You Say Potato, I Say "Yes Please!"
The first contest felt like a sign. Of course this site was meant for me… ‘Your Best Potato Gratin!’ Well, they apparently didn’t realize I had been devouring and making au gratin potatoes for years, and that Mel is a master potato chef. I came up with about 8 concepts, all sharing the basic method I learned for Mel’s Au Gratin Potatoes- layer potatoes, flour, salt, pepper, cheese, repeat. Cover with milk. Bake. Done. I considered a bacon and green chili with cheddar. A mushroom and potato with Swiss. An ultra creamy. A not so creamy. A blue cheese. A roasted garlic. I finally decided there was no way Evan and I would still love each other if I made 6 dishes of cheesy, ooey, gooey gratin in one night, so I combined a few ideas and settled on one dish- Bacon, Blue, and Roasted Garlic Gratin.
I gratined my little heart out. Carefully measuring, writing things down, taking pictures along the way. I was pretty damn proud of the results. A deep, rich gratin, with smoky caramelized roasted garlic and melty blue cheese, little bits of salty bacon nestled amongst the gooey potato layers and crispy, crunchy top… a sure winner.
I checked back daily for the result, sure that my recipe and mouth watering picture caught someone’s eye. I didn’t make it in the final 2. I didn’t even get an honorable mention! The competition out there apparently is a lot tougher than I thought, with a sweet potato/bacon tied up with a basic potato/leek. Well, I’m going to keep trying. With 2 contests weekly, I’m sure to at least get a nod in my direction, right? Even if I don’t, hopefully you’ll enjoy the recipes! As long as I get your mouths watering, I’ll consider myself a winner...and if I ever make it to the final two, send your votes my way!
Roasted Garlic, Blue Cheese, and Bacon Gratin
1 head garlic
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
3-4 slices bacon
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
3 russet potatoes
3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Peel off outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, while still leaving the head of garlic intact and whole. Cut off the top of cloves.
3. Place garlic head in a ramekin or small baking dish, allowing it to stand upright
4. Drizzle 2 teaspoons of olive oil over garlic, Cover with aluminum foil.
5. Bake at 400°F for 35 minute
6. Cool to room temperature, squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins, mash with a fork.
For the Potatoes:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F
2. Fry bacon, cool, and dice
3. Peel potatoes, and slice thinly
4. Butter gratin dish (8x8 glass baking dish will work)
5. In baking dish, place one layer of potato slices, sprinkle with 1/3rd blue cheese, 1/3rd bacon, 1/3rd mashed garlic, 1 tbsp flour, dot with 1/3rd butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper
6. Repeat with remaining potatoes, cheese, bacon, flour, butter, and garlic.
7. Pour 1 ½ cups half n half over top
8. Cover with foil
9. Bake at 400°F for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for 20-30 more minutes.
10. Let gratin set for 10 minutes before eating.