Potatoes. Cream. Scallions. Dubliner cheese. Marry these ingredients together and you’ll not only have Irish eyes-a-smilin’ but likely anyone near enough to get a whiff of this rich savory dish.
Truth be told, I wasn’t even planning on making this. I had just read and re-posted an article on Facebook about a potato-leek gratin that I spied in the NY Times….I nearly fainted out of desire for this thing, I swear to you. It was gratin lust. Pure and simple.
I decided that I would make it for St. Patrick’s Day. But I hesitated…..if I made gratin, I couldn’t very well also make my beloved colcannon, or even more beloved champ: Buttery mashed potatoes, combined with spring onions or scallions.
The solution was to combine the two–a gratin with spring onions in place of the sweet, mellow leeks. Awww, yeeaah.
I’m going to tell you the truth, Readers. Although my photo shows red potatoes, I think you’d be better off using russets. The starchy kind of potato just works better than the waxy kind.
I gave the scallions a very quick saute in some butter, but I think if you were in a hurry you could even skip this. These little green onions are so mild, they’ll cook plenty in the oven.
As with any good gratin, layering is key. Thinly sliced potatoes, cheese, onions. Repeat. It’s a good idea to season each layer with salt and pepper.
Now you have to add liquid of some sort for the potatoes to poach in. For a gratin, it’s usually milk or half-and-half. For this version, I heated whole milk with a smashed garlic clove and the teensiest pinch of nutmeg. Pour right over the potatoes, until the milk mixture comes up to the top layer.
Top with some Parmesan, if you feel like it. Cover and bake until the potatoes are tender. Remove the cover, add a little cream and/or butter—just go for it, you’ve already committed to a fair amount of fat and calories here–and bake again until browned and bubbly.
Trust me, it looked, smelled and tasted delicious. I was in lust again—and so looking forward to digging into this dish that I didn’t even take a closer picture of it. You’ll just have to make it for yourself and see.