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Indulge humble spuds with rich, creamy gratin

I have a recipe for a potato gratin in my last cookbook, “Dinner Solved!”, that I firmly stand by. Here is another that I firmly stand by. And I plan to come up with more such recipes to firmly stand by because I am committed to reminding all of us why gratins are one of the best things that could ever happen to a potato, ever.

This is a rich gratin, made with all cream, no milk or even half and half. I’m not apologizing, just explaining. In general, I like my indulgent dishes flat-out indulgent,

Laura Agra/Associated Press This delicious gratin pairs Yukon Gold potatoes and thyme in a silky cream sauce.

Laura Agra/Associated Press
This delicious gratin pairs Yukon Gold potatoes and thyme in a silky cream sauce.

and my healthier food in the form of broiled fish, or salads. And I don’t have a problem with the two sharing a plate. This gratin, for instance, would be lovely next to a piece of roasted salmon with a peppery green salad alongside them.

If you have a mandolin and the inclination to use it, please do, and you will get lovely, paper-thin slices for a sultry and elegantly stratified gratin. If not, use the slicing blade in your food processor or a sharp knife; the slices will likely not be as thin, but that’s A-OK.

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THYME AND YUKON GOLD POTATO GRATIN

Serves 10 to 12

2½ cups heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon minced garlic

3 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes

1½ cups shredded Gruyere cheese

2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme

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1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

Combine the cream, butter and garlic in a medium saucepan and bring to barely a simmer over medium high heat. Remove from the heat.

While the mixture is heating, peel the potatoes and slice them very thinly.

Combine the cheese, thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Spread out half of the potatoes in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the cheese mixture. Repeat with the remaining potatoes, and then the remaining cheese mixture. Pour the cream mixture over the potatoes, and press down on the potatoes to make sure they are mostly submerged in the liquid.

Bake on a lower rack in the oven for about 60 to 65 minutes, until the top is golden brown, and the potatoes have absorbed most of the cream and are very tender; a knife should slide in easily. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

PER SERVING: 486 calories; 349 calories from fat; 39 g fat (18 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 88 mg cholesterol; 932 mg sodium; 28 g carbohydrate; 6 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 7 g protein.

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