Monday, 19 December 2005

How to make a grown man cry

Get him to peel and slice onions, I tell ya! I was crying my eyes out making this gratin Dauphinois last night but the result was worth the pain. That's what you get when you spend too long at home away from work: you end up trying unusual things like cooking.

So for whoever is interested, here's my recipe. You will need, per person:

  • 1 Onion;
  • 100g of or bacon;
  • 3 big or 5 small potatoes (you can mix in sweet potatoes);
  • 100ml of single cream;
  • 200g grated cheese or fresh mozzarella;
  • some butter or oil to fry the onions and lardons.

Start boiling a saucepan of water to cook the potatoes, while peeling and cutting the onions. If using bacon, cut it in small strips.

Fry the onions in butter (or olive oil if you prefer) on a very gentle fire in a small frying pan. If you have a real non-stick frying pan, you can leave them frying on their own without having to check too much. Make sure they don't burn and if they do bring the fire down. In the meantime, put the potatoes in your boiling water and let them boil away. Also start pre-heating the oven on a grill setting or whatever setting that heats only from above. If you are planning on drinking white wine with it, pour a little over the onions.

Have a break. A glass of the wine you poured on the onions will do nicely at this stage.

When the onions are getting to a nice golden colour, pour in the lardons.

When the potatoes are cooked (stick a knife through them to check), take them out of the water and let them cool down a bit. Peel them off and cut them in thin slices. If using mozzarella, cut it in small pieces.

By now, the lardons should be properly fried so pour the onions and lardons in an oven safe dish so that they cover the bottom. Arrange the slices of potatoes on top. Pour the single cream on top so that everything bathes in it. Add salt and pepper to your liking. Sprinkle the cheese on top making sure you cover the whole surface.

Put in the oven until the cheese is a nice golden brown colour, as in the picture.

Enjoy with a nice dry white wine.

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