Dinner at home can be cozy and romantic; and preparing a vegetarian comfort food shows how much you care. Plus, this dish is so pretty and impressive that you’ll earn extra style points with your special someone! Happy Vegetarian Valentine’s Day!

Gratin Dauphinois

from Bea, aka La Tartine Gourmande

Ingredients:

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • Unsalted butter, for the baking dish
  • 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
  • Twig of thyme
  • 1 1/2 pound potatoes (like Yukon golds), peeled and sliced finely with a mandoline
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced finely with a mandoline
  • 5-6 small pink turnips*, peeled and sliced finely with a mandoline
  • 6 sage leaves, chopped finely
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 oz. finely grated cheese (aged Swiss-style**)

Directions:

  1. Rub a 12 x 8.5-inch baking dish with 2 halves of one garlic clove. Butter the dish generously.
  2. Slice the halves of garlic and place them at the bottom of the dish; set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  4. In a pot, heat the milk and heavy cream with the remaining garlic halves and the thyme. Bring to a simmer and then stop the heat. Cover and let infuse for 30 minutes. Strain, discarding the garlic and thyme, and reheat.
  5. Tightly arrange the slices of vegetables at the bottom of the dish, alternating between 1 layer of slices of potatoes, 1 of sweet potato and 1 of turnip. Repeat until you run out of ingredients.
  6. Add the sage and then pour the milk/cream batter over the vegetables–the milk should cover the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the nutmeg. Top with the grated cheese. Bake the gratin for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the top has a nice golden color. Serve warm as a side dish as a main dish with a salad.

* If you can’t find pink turnips, consider regular turnips (you might even try marinating them in beet juice before layering for the pretty pink color); or rutabagas which have a lovely golden color somewhere between the creamy white potato and the bright orange sweet potato.

**Ask Ludwig’s or Tulip Tree which of their cheeses would be comparable to an Emmenthaler.

P.S. Consider visiting the La Tartine Gourmande page (see the link in the recipe by-line above) to see the beautiful photographs of this dish — they’re stunning!