12 August 2009

This is a recipe that Melissa D'Arabian made on the pilot episode of her new show during the finale of The Next Food Network Star. She calls them 5 Minute Individual Potato Gratins, but I renamed them because they take much longer than that!

Muffin Tin Potatoes

Cooking spray
2 large russet potatoes, thoroughly scrubbed and thinly sliced
½ cup cheese, shredded
1 shallot, finely chopped
¾ cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375°.

Spray 12 muffin tins with vegetable spray. Layer potato slices, cheese, and shallots into each muffin cup. Sprinkle salt in between each slice of potato. Top each gratin with 1 or 2 tbsp of heavy cream. Cover with foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, removing the foil halfway through cooking time. Invert gratins onto plate and serve.

Makes 4-6 servings.

I changed a couple of things from the original. She said to peel the potatoes, but I didn't think that was necessary. I just scrubbed them really well. I think they are better with the skin on. I used my mandolin to slice them. Worked beautifully! I am a new mandolin owner and am still amazed at how pretty things look when I use it! My knife skills are pretty bad, so I love using my mandolin. I set it on ⅛” and that seemed to be the perfect thickness. Any cheese will do; I used colby jack.

The original recipe calls for 2 green onions instead of the shallot. Jim doesn't really care for onions that much and I was making another dish with onions in it, so I decided to use a shallot instead. We love shallots. They have the best flavor. The shallot was perfect in this dish. That's one thing I will not change when I make it in the future.

The original says to salt the potatoes after layering and topping with cheese. That didn't make much sense to me. When I layered the potatoes, I sprinkled a bit of salt in between each of the layers. I find potatoes need a lot of salt. I didn't use a lot, just a light sprinkle. But I think that is more effective than salting just the top after you put the cheese on.

The only other thing I changed was to use whole milk instead of heavy cream. I don't keep heavy cream on hand because I never use it. I thought the milk would work just as well. Actually, it didn't. I noticed when they came out of the oven that they were really watery. I think the milk may have separated a little bit because I also noticed milk solids. So I guess that wasn't the best idea. I'm not really sure if they need cream; I might try it next time without and see what happens.

Even despite the milk issue, they were delicious. Jim raved about them. They don't look very pretty, but they taste great. The shallot flavor works so well with the potatoes and cheese.

Not a great picture, but this is them getting ready to go into the oven.

My perfect mandolin slices.

I served them with Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon and Italian Peas. Note: I put four potato gratins on my plate for the pic, but that ended up being too much for one side dish serving. I would figure 2 or 3 per person.

Melissa's new show, Ten Dollar Dinners, airs Sunday afternoons at 12:30 on Food Network. I missed the first episode but am looking forward to watching the rest.

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