Monday, December 19, 2005
My Best Potato Gratin
Do you ever make a meal out of a side dish?
We did tonight. I'm not exactly endorsing this idea, but it's going to happen now and then. Like when you keep pork chops in the fridge for so long that they lose their luster. The chops were edible and all, but they weren't at their best. I don't know how I missed this in the supermarket, but one of the chops was big enough for me to wonder if it had been taken from a brontosaurus. I gave Margy the smaller one.
But look at our savior, that browned, bubbling potato gratin. I was more careful this time about slicing the taters to a uniform thickness (Sous Chef Margy handled that part, with her secret weapon, the mandoline) and arranging them properly in the dish in a slightly overlapping fan pattern. The dish itself was a gift from my sister, and I think it helped me get the right results, as it was the perfect size for the potatoes.
Still, despite my using a new dish and making the right moves, there was something mysterious about why this particular gratin was so wonderful. Did I soak in some "way with potato" by osmosis when I was in Paris? Possibly. But I guess part of it can be chalked up to the magic of cooking -- like any kind of inspiration, you can't always explain it; you just have to be grateful when it appears.
Along with our megaserving of potatoes and not-too-many bites of pork, we made sure to eat our vegetables: roasted brussels sprouts, Margy's favorite. Chops? What chops?