There are few side dishes that feel as indulgent as Dauphinoise Potatoes, let’s face it. They tick pretty much every box. A crisp golden crust? Check. Tender slices of perfectly cooked potato? All present and correct. A rich creamy sauce? Absolutely! Though not quite as you might expect it…
It may offend some dauphinoise traditionalists, but the sauce here doesn’t contain double cream. Rather it’s made with a mixture of milk and crème fraîche which makes it a little lighter in both texture and calories. I accept that using full-fat crème fraîche is no different to double cream in terms of fat content. But that’s not where the gains are made – it’s all a question of texture. Crème fraîche is a lot thicker that pouring cream, which means you can ‘dilute’ it with lower fat milk without compromising on the flavour or texture of the finished dish. For me that’s a reasonable substitute that’s worth making.
Though don’t be under any illusions that this is a low-fat recipe. It’s just not as naughty as it might have otherwise been. Plus, it’s coming up to Christmas and if there’s a time of year to treat yourself then this is surely it.
Lighter Dauphinoise Potatoes
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Shallots peeled and finely chopped
- 1 clove Garlic peeled and crushed
- 2 sprigs Thyme leaves removed from stalks
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 150 ml Semi-Skimmed Milk
- 300 g Full-fat Crème Fraîche
- 800 g Potatoes
- 25 g Gruyère or similar grated
- Pre-heat the oven to 170°C
- Put the olive oil into a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and fry for a few minutes until softened and tender. Add in the garlic, thyme leaves and bay leaf then fry for a further minute until fragrant. Add in the milk and crème fraîche and mix well. Bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat and allow the flavours to infuse.
- Peel the potatoes and then slice thinly. You want each slice to be around around 1-2mm thick. Pat away any excess moisture with a piece of kitchen towel.
- Layer half of the potatoes in the bottom of a large oven-proof dish, overlapping them slightly to avoid leaving gaps. Season and then pour over half of the crème fraîche mixture. Repeat the process with the remaining potatoes and sauce. The sauce should just about cover the top layer of potato, but you may need to press the layers down a bit if it doesn't.
- Top with the grated cheese then put into the oven for 75 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling. Check that the potatoes are tender before taking it out of the oven (you should be able to tell with a knife or skewer) and give them an extra 10-15 minutes if you feel they need it.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.