Cooking with Jonathan By Jonathan Jolicoeur

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In this weekly culinary column, I will be focusing on one dish – giving the reader a quick history of the dish, the classical
preparation of it, and of course, my own spin on the classic.

This week I have chosen to cover gratin dauphinois – a traditional French dish that features potatoes and crème fraiche. The origin of this dish is from the south-eastern region of France known as Dauphine. The first mention of this dish was in 1788 as it was being served at a dinner given by Charles-Henri, Duke of Clermont-Tonnerre.

Traditional Gratin Dauphinois

2 ½ cups​Whole milk
1 lb​Potatoes (washed, peeled and cut into ¼ inch rounds)
6 oz​Heavy cream
6 oz​Creme fraiche
1 tsp​Salt
1 tsp​Pepper, freshly cracked
2 tbsp​Unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup​Gruyere cheese, grated
pinch​Nutmeg, freshly grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large sauce pot over medium-low heat, bring the potatoes and milk to a gentle simmer and allow to continue simmering for 10-15 minutes, or until almost tender. Drain the milk from the pan and add the heavy cream, crème fraiche, salt, pepper and nutmeg to the potatoes. Return the pot to medium-low heat and allow the cream and crème fraiche to come to a simmer. Simmer on low for 10 minutes. Butter a large baking dish and spread the mixture in the baking dish and top with the grated gruyere cheese. Bake for roughly 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool slightly and serve.

Jonathan’s Gratin Dauphinois

2 ½ cups​Whole milk
1 lb​Potatoes (washed, peeled and cut into ¼ inch rounds)
6 oz​Heavy cream
6 oz​Creme fraiche
1 tsp​Sea salt
1 tsp​Pepper, freshly cracked
2 tbsp​Unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup​Gruyere cheese, grated
2 clove​s​Garlic, thinly sliced
1 tbsp​Thyme, freshly picked
1 oz​Extra virgin olive oil
pinch​Nutmeg, freshly grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large sauce pot over medium-low heat, add the olive oil and garlic and allow the garlic flavor to infuse in the oil. Add your potatoes and milk and bring them to a gentle simmer and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until almost tender. Drain the milk from the pan and add the heavy cream, crème fraiche, thyme, salt, pepper and nutmeg to the potatoes. Return pot to medium-low heat and allow the cream and crème fraiche to come to a simmer. Simmer on low for 10 minutes. Butter a large baking dish and spread the mixture in the baking dish and top with the grated gruyere cheese. Bake for roughly 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool slightly and serve.

Whether you choose to prepare the classic, my twist or your own interpretation, remember that food is about bringing people together and that the act of cooking is about caring and as long as your heart is in the dish you prepare, the people you are cooking for will appreciate it (and you).

If you have any questions for me or would like to see me cover any particular dish in this column, feel free to write me, care of this publication. From my kitchen to yours, it is my pleasure to give you a peek into the mind of a chef. Thank You

Jonathan Jolicoeur is a chef at A Tavola – an Italian restaurant on Church Street in Winchester – which focuses on “farm to table” style of cooking. Jonathan was born in Somerville, lives in Woburn and has a degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

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