What is it about melted cheese that we seem to so love?
Grilled cheese sandwiches; mac & cheese; cheese fondue; cheeseburgers; cheese sauces.
I could probably manage my culinary life with out beef or chicken (though I'd rather not). And I could probably get by without pasta or rice (but please don't make me). There are three (at least) things that I simply could not go on without: tomatoes, herbs and cheese. With these three things all else is possible. I could give up pepperoni pizza but not pizza entirely; I could still have pasta with fresh tomato and herb sauce (and Parmesan) and I could still have my Potatoes Savoyard.
I discovered these many years ago when (as always) I was trying to trim a few calories out of my meals without noticing the lack. Traditional, American 'Au Gratin' potatoes are made with lots of cheese and cream, or, at least milk. Potatoes Savoyard are made with chicken stock. That eliminated enough calories to suit me! Add in the fact that they are super simple to make and they quickly became one of my winter staples. (We don't do 'oven cooking' in the summer.)
I usually make enough for two meals. If I manage to disguise them in the fridge so mon mari can't find them they're even better the second night.
4 – 5 potatoes this makes enough for two meals…or 4 people
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs olive oil
3 – 4 oz Gruyère, sliced (10 slices app. 1" x 3" x 3/16th", cm=2.5×7.5×0.3)
1/3 cup chicken stock
Pinch of nutmeg
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
Thinly slice the onions and garlic. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until tender and just starting to brown. Remove from heat and set aside. With a sharp knife thinly slice the potatoes or use a mandolin (if you think this is a musical instrument, you don't have one.) In a glass baking dish just large enough to hold ingredients (I use an 8" X 11" (20 X 27.5cm) oval baking dish) lay 1/3rd of the potatoes, spread half of the sautéed onions over the potatoes and lay half of the cheese on the onions. Repeat once. Top with remaining 1/3 of the potatoes. Sprinkle the nutmeg over the top. Pour the stock over all, sprinkle with Parmesan, cover with foil and bake at 425F (220C) for 40 minutes. Remove foil, reduce heat to 400F (200C) and continue baking another 20 minutes. Remove from oven, let rest 5 – 10 minutes, then serve.
What three things can't you live (your culinary life) without?