Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Friends go - Recipes stay

It's funny, but some of my very best recipes originate from former friends that for various reasons I am not in touch with anymore. Yesterday when I prepared a spinach potato gratin it made me think about the friend from London that I lost because another (very much ex-) friend told her some bad lies. But then again this very much ex-friend gave me the recipe for the best ever beef stew which no matter what I think of her I will never give up making (the fact that the preparation of this stew involves at least half a bottle of brandy does help -there is always a little swig left for the cook).
And yet another long lost friend is the author of a chicken recipe that everybody, but truly everybody loves. And even if sometimes it is sad:  friends may go - but real good recipes are here to stay!

Finely sliced potaoes covered by just wilted spinach

....and covered by another layer of very finely sliced potatoes

Fresh from the oven: spinach and Potato Gratin

"le beau reste" as the French say
To feed 4 to 6 people you need:
750 g (1 1/2 lbs) potatoes, peeled and very finely sliced. A big bag (500g/ 1lb) of baby spinach leaves, 1 clove of garlic, 300ml (1 1/2 cups) of crème fraîche (or sour cream or double cream), pepper and nutmeg fresh from the mill and kosher salt. A handful of grated cheese (Gruyère is best).
Butter a gratin dish and cover in one even layer of very finely sliced potatoes. Generously sprinkle with freshly milled pepper and nutmeg and kosher salt.
In a big pan heat a few drops of olive oil add the spinach and let wilt. Discard spinach into a sieve, let cool and press out most of the moisture. Distribute the spinach over the first layer of potaoes, then cover with another layer of sliced potatoes. Season as before - generously please as potatoes "eat" spices - i.e. need rather a lot of them. Very finely mince (or press) one clove of garlic and stir into the crème fraîche, sour cream or double cream, dilute with a little bit of milk if necessary to give the cream pouring consistency. Pour over the spinach-potato gratin, sprinkle with a generous handful of grated cheese and let bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F for 40 to 45 minutes. I like to serve this alongside smoked or poached salmon.


  1. This recipe sounds so beautiful. I can understand why it is special to you and invokes memories, may they be good or sad. Thanks.

  2. The gratin looks delish as my daughter would say. I will definitely be trying it this winter. Merci

  3. Thanks all of you and do try making this gratin - it truly is very good.