The outdoor temp is 94.2 without a cloud in the sky. Who wants to eat in this scorching heat? (Me.) New potatoes are all over the farmers’ markets, and I’ve boiled, saladed, and roasted my way through a heap of red-skinned taters. Perhaps my favorite potato dish is a gratin: thinly sliced potatoes layered with garlic-spiked cream, grated cheeses, and anything else you’d like, baked until tender, brown, and crusted.
I know—it’s too damn hot to turn on the oven, especially at midday. That’s why I baked my potato gratin in an unglazed earthenware baking dish on the Big Green Egg. Light it up, set it to cook between 350 and 400 degrees, and bake away, without raising the temperature of the kitchen one degree. Plus, isn’t it time that the grill cooked something other than big hunks of protein?
Potato & proscuitto gratin
4 medium red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed well
butter or cooking spray, to grease pan
1/2 cup heavy cream, half & half, or milk
1 clove garlic
finely grated or thinly sliced cheese: gruyere, fontina, pecorino, parmesan, or whatever combination of hard/semi-soft cheeses you like
4-5 slices thin ham or prosciutto
salt & black pepper
Slice the (skin-on) potatoes thinly on a v-slicer or mandoline (I bought a cheap Orka v-slicer at TJ Maxx; it works like a charm). Grease a gratin dish or rectangular baking pan. Put garlic clove through a press and combine with heavy cream in a small bowl. Place sliced potatoes, slightly overlapping, to cover the bottom of the baking dish, then top with torn strips of prosciutto, a scattering of cheeses, and a sprinkling of salt and black pepper. Dribble two or three teaspoons of garlic cream over the layer. Repeat the potato-ham-cheese layering until the dish is filled or you run out of potato slices. Sprinkle a small amount of cheese over the top layer, and pour any remaining cream over the top. Cover tightly with foil. Cook on a preheated Big Green Egg at 350-400 degrees, using direct heat, until potatoes are tender (45-60 minutes). To serve, slice into sections and invert each serving onto a plate, revealing the caramelized bottom layer of potatoes.
Use the hot grill to char a few asparagus, tomatoes, or sliced zucchini to accompany the gratin–it makes for a nice change of pace from grilled burgers, chicken, and ribs.