Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Julia Child's Gratin de Pommes de Terre Provencal

Well, let's face it, it is very hard to photograph a casserole.

This version of scalloped potatoes is wonderfully different in that it has no cream or milk or eggs or even butter! Yes, apparently Julia Child has a few recipes sans butter, who knew? The potatoes are cooked in the juices of the tomatoes and flavoured with herbs and anchovies, garlic and Parmesan. Yum!
I increased the herbs, and might even increase the salt and pepper next time. I love big flavour.
And anchovies. Anchovies are the bacon of the sea world, as far as I am concerned. I always have a tin or two in the fridge.

Gratin de Pommes de Terre Provencal
Scalloped Potatoes with Onions, Tomatoes, Anchovies, Herbs, and Garlic
Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking
for #MTAFC

2 cups thinly sliced onions
2 Tbs olive oil
A small saucepan
1.5 lbs tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and juiced
1/4 tsp salt

6 canned anchovies, packed in olive oil, drained (reserve oil)
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp pepper
2 Tbs olive oil (include as part of this the oil from the anchovy can)

And oiled baking dish about 10 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep
2 lbs boiling potatoes, sliced 1/8 inch thick (6-7 cups)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Swiss cheese
1 tsp olive oil

Aluminum foil, if necessary

This casserole with its full-bodied Mediterranean flavour goes with roast lamb or beef, steaks, chop, or grilled mackerel, tuna or swordfish. It is also good served cold. The potatoes need no other liquid than that rendered by the tomatoes as they cook together. Julia Child
Serves 6

Preheat oven to 400F.

Cook the onions and olive oil slowly together in a the saucepan until the onions are tender but not browned. Cut the tomatoes pulp into strips 3/8 inch wide. Fold the tomatoes and salt into the onions. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, mash the anchovies into a paste with the garlic, herbs, pepper, and oil.

Spread one quarter of the tomatoes and onions in the baking dish. Over them arrange half the potato slices, then half the anchovy mixture, then half the remaining tomatoes and onions. Spread over the rest of the the potatoes and the anchovy mixture; top with the last of the tomatoes and onions. Spread on the cheese, and sprinkle with olive oil.

Place in middle level of preheated oven and bake for about 40 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and have absorbed all of the juice from the tomatoes. If the top browns too much during cooking, cover very loosely with a sheet of foil.

Keep warm or reheat.