Purple Potato Gratin

Purple potatoes are just more fun.  They make lovely lavender-colored mashed potatoes and are stunning when contrasted with normal white potatoes.  My original plan for tonight’s gratin was a mixture of purple potatoes, pink beets (probably the candy-cane variety), and if possible, something yellow or orange (more beets? sweet potatoes?).  When we missed the Thursday farmer’s market, I considered postponing the gratin making, but those purple potatoes just looked so… purple!  And I couldn’t not think of something to do with them, so this is yet another installment of baked vegetables with cheese. Purple Potato Gratin
Equal amounts white and purple potatoes, sliced into uniformly thin rounds
Salt and pepper
1 cup milk or more
1/2 cup grated melty cheese or more (such as cheddar or gruyere)
1-2 egg yolks (optional)
Olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a baking dish with the olive oil.  Place the slices of potato in alternating rows of purple and white, at approximately a 45 degree angle.  When the baking dish is full with rows of the potato slices, season liberally with salt and pepper.  If making multiple layers of potato slices, you can put grated cheese over the first layer and continue on with another layer.  No matter how many layers you make, pour enough milk into the baking dish to come up to the middle of the top layer.  Mix the milk with an egg yolk or two to make the milk closer to a custard when it bakes.  You can also add salt and pepper to the milk and then pour the milk into the baking dish carefully in one corner to keep from washing the salt and pepper off of the potatoes.  Finish the top layer of potatoes with a layer of cheese.  Bake for 50 minutes or more, depending on the number of layers.  I cover the baking dish with aluminum foil for all but the last half hour to keep the top layer from getting too dark.


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