One way is to simmer sliced potatoes (russets work best) in milk with some butter, salt & pepper until partly cooked, then pour the whole thing into the baking pan, top with plenty of grated cheese--Gruyere is good--and into the oven until the top is brown.
Another way is to use heavy cream with no pre-cooking--layer the sliced potatoes in the baking pan with the grated cheese, then pour cream over everything until it's about 2/3 of the way up to the top layer of spuds; bake (around 375 or 400) until brown. Salt and pepper the potatoes as you build the layers.
I try to slice the potatoes to about 1/8 inch or a little thinner.
There is a simple recipe in Bourdain's Les Halles cookbook. It directs you to the cook in pan and then dump into a baking vessel method. I ignored that and simply baked it in the oven straight.
His recipe called for 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, 5 cloves garlic (maybe too much), 2 sprigs thyme, 1 sprig rosemary, 2 sage leaves, a slight grating of nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
He called for fairly thick slices (1/4") and I much prefered it over the thinner slices I used to do. They stayed together better and had some bite to them even when fully tender.
He cooked it on the stove-top till tender and then dumped it into a baking dish.
I baked it at 375. Removed when the potatoes were tender and topped it with grated gruyere. I then returned it to brown and crisp.
I thought the gratin was fantastic. My mother disagreed -- but, she likes scalloped potatoes for all the reasons I don't (the tons of onions mostly).
Depending on the thickness of your potato, 45 minutes to 60
I made a similar dish the other day, I cooked the sauce stove top first adding more cheese.
Cooking the potatoes in water- if not careful they sometimes are watery, and it will ruin the dish. i say thicken your cheese sauce with flour, and then pour over the potatoes to finish in the oven.
The dish matters too, a shallow baking dish is perfect.
Here's a classic and easy Dauphinoise - note that the real deal does not include cheese and it is genuinely better without! However, I add a tiny bit of garlic, grated nutmeg, a pinch of lemon zest and handful of finely chopped sage to this recipe. Also I sometimes finish it with a drizzle of truffle oil - but I leave out the sage if I'm going to do that!
Classic Bistro Potato Gratin Dauphinoise
1 Tbs Unsalted butter
3 Tbs Chopped garlic
1 cup Heavy cream
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Freshly-ground white pepper
4 large Russet potatoes - (abt 2 lbs)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart flame-proof casserole or gratin dish. Peel the potatoes and hold them in cold water until ready to proceed with the recipe. Combine the garlic, cream, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Dry the potatoes fully and cut them into rounds, beginning at one end, using a mandoline. Set the blade on the mandoline to cut a thin, 1/8-inch thick, slice. Place the potato slices into the gratin dish, carefully layering them in a circular fashion. Pour the seasoned cream over the potatoes and shake the dish gently to allow the cream to flow towards the bottom of the dish. Place the gratin dish on the stovetop over low heat and begin to warm the contents until the cream has begun to simmer. Cook the potatoes in the seasoned cream for 5 minutes and then place the gratin dish into the oven. Bake the potatoes for 45 to 60 minutes until the top has browned to a rich golden color and the cream is bubbling along the side of the dish. Remove the gratin from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. This recipe yields 6 to 8 servings.
Recipe Source: MICHAEL�S PLACE with Michael Lomonaco From the TV FOOD NETWORK - (Show # ML-1A33 broadcast 04-12-1997) Downloaded from their Web-Site - http://www.foodtv.com
I made a potato gratin last night from the Potato cookbook put out by Williams-Sonoma and it was amazing.
Thinly slice 2 1/2 lbs of peeled potatoes (I used a mandolin for this) and put them in a pot with 1 cup of heavy cream, 1 3/4 cups milk, two tablespoons butter, salt, pepper, a dash of nutmeg and 1 clove of minced garlic. Put over moderate heat until simmering, cover and boil for 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, rub a cut garlic clove all over a 2-qt casserole dish and then butter the dish. Put the potatoes in the dish, cover the top with grated Parmesan cheese, cover with tinfoil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes, uncover and bake for another 20 minutes, then let stand for 10 minutes.
Here's a picture of the finished dish from my blog, about halfway down the page: http://tasteofhomecooking.blogspot.co...
The best potato dauphinoise recipe I've made was in one of Jefferey Steingarten's books. Calls for no cheese -- just milk and cream -- but some sort of alchemy occurs with the proteins and the milk solids and the browning in the oven, resulting in incredibly rich, cheese-like flavors and textures.