Cheddar scalloped POTATO gratin simile DAUPHINOIS gratin recipe

Cheddar Scalloped Potato Gratin
Very high in flavour...very high on calorie reduction also.

Since I’ve been back from the French Riviera...
particularly in the charming coastal village of
Villefranche-sur-mer (slightly east of Nice)...

Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, French Riviera

...I’ve been trying desperately to replicate a
'Potato Dauphinois gratin'...the King of gratinées.

I can still remember the burst of flavour that melted in my mouth. Every time I would see it on the menu...I would desperately wait for my next bite of this starchy delicacy. To my disappointment...the first one, was as we say "like the first kiss".
Alas...since I've been back...I have researched many recipes to try to re-create this delightful pleasure.  I actually managed to succeed with great results.  I then became desperate for an alternate solution to give me the same euphoric pleasure less the caloric guilt!
 For those who never heard of or had the pleasure of having your mouth meet Potato Dauphinois...here's a little background on this heavenly dish:
Gratin dauphinois...The name gratin dauphinois refers to the Dauphiné region (Rhone Alps) of France, where this method of preparing potatoes is a specialty. The ingredients composing a typical gratin dauphinois are thinly sliced and layered potatoes and cream cooked in a buttered dish rubbed with garlic. Eggs may sometimes be mixed with milk and cream. Gratin savoyard, a variation found in the neighbouring Savoie region, consists of alternating layers of sliced potatoes, Beaufort cheese, and bits of butter, with bouillon as the liquid. 
--ref.: Wikipedia

After having made these scalloped potatoes...
I think I’ve come darn close to realizing my simile version of this great dish.

If I may...I'll call her the 'Queen' to her King of Dauphinois. 
The real joy is how I’ve reduced the calories immensely.
I promise...you won't miss out on great texture or taste.

This recipe has absolutely no cream! 
Yep, you read right.   
Not only was the cream left out...I used 1% milk.
That is pretty incredible, isn't it?

I’m afraid at this point, most of you are total non-believers.  Some are shocked and quite frankly, I can’t blame the die-hard cooks who no doubt make an amazing ‘Dauphinois’ with cream.   
As much as possible I try to take care of my health as well as not neglecting my discerning palate.  I do try to retain those liberal extra calories for the dessert part of the meal.
I honestly think to have covered all basis on this one.  The only way I can convince you...is for you to try it along with me...just be objective and open your mind...you'll soon have a great big smile when putting that first melting bite in your mouth.
At the very least...your house will hold that unforgettable inviting smell from all those wonderful aromas.

Let’s get those potatoes scalloped.
I'm ready when you are.

Cheddar Scalloped Potato Gratin
(simile Dauphinois Gratin)
serves 6-8 persons

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(American / Metric measures)

...CHEESE sauce:
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
. 4 large potatoes*, peeled and thinly sliced
. 1-1/2 cup (150g) aged Cheddar cheese
. 4 medium garlic cloves, crushed
. 3 cups (750ml) milk (1% fat+)
. 2 tbsp. (30ml) unsalted butter
. 2 tbsp. (30ml) olive oil
. 3 tbsp. (45ml) All Purpose flour
. 1 tbsp. (15ml) Dijon mustard

. 1 tsp. (5ml) sea salt
. 1/4 tsp. (1ml) each of dried herbs: basil, marjoram, rosemary, sage
. a pinch of ground nutmeg

* Best potato variety for this dish are the earthy flavoured Russets or Idaho potato.  They have a low moisture and are higher in starch.  Perfect for this scalloped potatoes ‘gratin’.

For this 3 layered dish:
Generously butter a square PYREX dish: approx. size: 9.5 x 9.5 in. (24x24cm)
Pre-heat the oven to 375F/190C/Gas5

Position the rack in the center of the oven.
Prepare a baking pan to hold the pyrex in case of spills.

1. Peel and crush the garlic cloves. Grate all the cheddar cheese and prepare the seasoning. Set aside.
2. In a small-medium saucepan melt together the butter with the olive oil on medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour to make a light 'roux' .  Add a small quantity of milk at first in order to initiate a smooth blend.  Then, continue whisking as to gradually add the rest of the milk.  Keep whisking until the start of a thickening boil. There will be a slight rise in the saucepan...which means it's ready. Remove from the heat and add the Dijon mustard as well as the cheese, garlic and the seasonings.  Set aside.  Note: While preparing the onions and potatoes, make sure to give a whisk to this sauce once and a while. 
...SLICING the vegetables:
3. With the aid of a mandoline or food processor, thinly slice the onions first and place into a bowl.  Repeat the same for the potatoes.  Set aside.

Ready to ASSEMBLE the 3 layers:

... ASSEMBLE 3 layers:
4. Layer a 1/3 of the sliced potatoes evenly across the bottom of the pan. Scatter 1/3 of the sliced onions. Pour 1/3 of the cheese sauce over the first layer. Repeat this process another 2 times.
5. Tightly cover finished dish with an aluminium foil. Initially BAKE covered for 45 minutes and then uncover for another 30-45 minutes of baking to allow the browning 'Gratin' magic to happen.
. Before taking out this dish, poke the potatoes in order to make sure that they are thoroughly cooked.
. Remove the dish from the oven and let it rest 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy.

Serve alone or as a side to other delectable dishes.
Here, we served it alongside one of our favourites:
 BASA fish filet stuffed Pindjur rolls.

Flavourful wishes,

Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SAVOURY creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)

. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later. 

Other very appetizing VEGETARIAN inspired dishes:
- Bean Dip Delight: Turkish inspired Feta
- clever Stuffed CABBAGE roll CUPS...How to make roll cups
- EDAMANE yogurt spread
- EGGS VEGGED OUT - Sunny Side Up
- Frittata...oven-baked Tri-Colored Frittata
- MILLET stuffed Bell PEPPER cups
- medi SWEET POTATO Yogu CHICKPEA Dip Spread
- stuffed Acorn SQUASH Veggie hearts