- Date: Sunday, June 1, 2008 -- 8pm
- Location: Somerville, MA
- Kitchen: Matty's Apartment
- Fellow Chef: Matty
- Dining Companions: Ana, Jenny, Kenny, and Angelica
- Recipe Rating: B+
I know what you're thinking: a remake??? WHAT??? Almost 750 recipes into this project, I have never remade one and reposted about it. So what could have possibly possessed me to do such a thing? Well I'll tell ya:
So last week, the day my blog appeared in the Wall Street Journal, a number of people emailed me or posted comments, mainly with various forms of encouragement. So there I was, sitting in front of my computer when my new email dinging noise went off and in my Inbox there was a new comment from my blog. No big deal. Deep in thought about something else, it took me a minute of staring at it to process the following line of information: From: Ruth Reichl, Subject: [The Gourmet Project] New comment on Gratin Dauphinois (Page 572). This was not just a new comment, this was a comment from RUTH REICHL. Most of you will need no explanation for who that is, but for my non-foodie friends out there, let me offer you this -- on the spine of The Book, it reads: The Gourmet Cookbook - Ruth Reichl. Not only did she edit The Book, but she is also the editor-in-chief of Gourmet Magazine, the author of three fabulous memoirs (which I highly recommend!), and an all around culinary goddess. I have admired her for years. I saw her speak my first year in graduate school, which only cemented my admiration. She commented on my blog! I was so excited. Except... she wasn't very happy with me.
Here's my original post about Gratin Dauphinois, where you can see her comment and my response. You can also read my not-so-charitable review of this recipe the first time I made it. The fact that I had such a miserable experience with a recipe that Ruth Reichl likes so much did seem a little suspect to me -- perhaps I had made a mistake!
So last night, in the company of friends, I remade this recipe. And I will happily admit: I was wrong. There is no way that these potatoes deserved the D I gave them the first time around. I don't know what went wrong that first time. My best guess is that the dish I used wasn't shallow enough. It had the right capacity, but perhaps the potatoes were stacked too deep, and covered with a thick layer of cheese, which didn't allow enough moisture to evaporate. I don't know. I think the only thing I did differently this time around was cooking them in a pan with a larger surface area. And they came out very nice! Perhaps it is more than that -- maybe I made a measuring error the first time. I have no idea. But in any event, I will officially retract my previous grade and review, and offer this instead:
These potatoes were quite tasty. The melted gruyere on top was (obviously!) delicious, and brought a nice crispy textural contrast to the tender potatoes. The one comment that several people made was that the creaminess around the potatoes was a little bland. The dish might have been improved by having a bit of cheese throughout rather than just the layer on top. Even a bit more salt would have helped. There are so many delicious things in the genre of potatoes + fat -- this one wasn't my absolute favorite, but I did have three helpings at dinner last night, and another two for lunch today! It was very tasty, and if you are looking for creamy, potatoey, comfort food, you are sure to like it!
This recipe isn't online.