I don’t know why I thought it would be a good idea to buy an entire bag of potatoes when only two of us live here, but there’s that. The BF had been entertaining the idea of potatoes au gratin for a while, but since I hated it as a kid (like most of the things I make on this site, it seems), I’d quickly change the subject and move on. But since I had a whole bag of potatoes just sitting around, waiting to start sprouting, I decided toshut the guy uptake the au gratin leap.
Fontina is an Italian cheese that is usually pretty pungent and tangy, but I used Danish Fontina, which is creamy and mild, similar to provolone. Most importantly, it melts like a champ, which is what I love most about it. And since potatoes and leeks go together like peas and carrots, I threw some of that in, too. Leeks are in the onion family but are much milder in taste, which makes them a great compliment to potatoes. They also fight hypertension and inflammation and, as I’m sure you’ve gleaned by now, I can’t possibly bear to make anything cheesy without it involving something REMOTELY healthy!
Potatoes au gratin usually involves pouring cream and cheese over already-assembled potatoes, but that also means that you have layers of potato all stuck together and potato-y. The solution? Layers! Every bite is cheesy goodness. Hurrah.
This dish serves 4-6. (Remember, it’s a side dish!)
4 large potatoes (I used yukon gold)
2 c. chopped leeks
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 c. grated fontina cheese
1 c. parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 c. half and half
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Slice potatoes thinly (this is best using a mandoline or food processor). Combine 1 c. fontina, 1/2 c. parmesan and spices in a bowl. In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add leeks and garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Stir in half and half and cheese/spice mixture and remove from heat.
- In an oven-safe pan, layer potato slices until bottom is covered. Cover with about 1/4 c. leek mixture. Repeat this process 3-4 times. Top with remaining cheese and bake, uncovered, about 75 minutes or until cheese is brown and a fork slides easily through the potatoes. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.