Baked Potato and Rosemary Gratin

You know, dinner parties can be good, for foodies. And those who like to cook.  I remember, when I was a kid, and we had someone coming over for dinner, I used to wait for that first whiff of the evening dinner as I came back from school. I'd love to guess what was cooking, even though I mostly knew what was on the menu.

The ready Gratin: Rosemary scented and beautifully rich

It did not take me long to figure out that anything you put in a baking tray and stick it in the oven for 25 minutes has to be some form of cake. But I chose to overlook that fact, and citing reasons as absurd as not having a good recipe, or ingredients (which this particular recipe fortunately disproves). When I bought this book, I have to admit, I bought it for all the sweet versions of batter and dough. But the savoury chapter, is so good.The recipes are not complicated, and while I don't know about ever making Indian curries  in an oven, this is definitely worth a try.

The recipe sounded deliciously European to me. Gratin, it said in its title. It also looked perfect for the winter chill, although I wouldn't have to think twice if I have to make it in the summer either.

So then I was wondering, what really is a Gratin? And what is a dauphinois? And what is a gratin dauphinois?  Yes, I found out - here comes the geek girl in me: Gratin is a French term for a dish that is topped with cheese or breadcrumbs and baked until the tops are browned and crisp. Gratin Dauphinois on the other hand has no cheese, and originates in the former French province Dauphin as I found out from Clotilde's blog Chocolate and Zucchini. The term Au Gratin refers to the actual technique of making the gratin. A Gratin is always made in large oven proof, shallow dishes, which Epicurious says is to increase the top surface area for larger crispy portions for everyone. Having made, eaten and shared a gratin, I can tell you, larger, crispy portions are necessary.

Since I had been hankering after making a gratin for so long, the sight of this lovely browned, top (with more cheese and cream that I can consume in a month) made me go after it. The ingredients sounded good, if slightly exotic, to me (but then, didn't I specifically say European?). Rosemary. Gouda. Caramelized Onion. Potato. Exotic, yes. But since I had decided to make it for a dinner party, I justified all the fanciness of this baked good. Also since it was the thick of winter, I knew no one would mind all that cream, cheese...calories. Because this is no 'diet' delight. But it is perfect to be made in a big bowl, a side dish, but yet a master piece, to be shared with your friends and family. We made two bowls of it, a large bowl and a smaller bowl, just in case we ran out (or you know, if I couldn't resist and decided to clean it out before the guest got any of it). But the success of this gratin was overwhelming. Such few ingredients, yet such a spectacular result. No one minded the richness. The rosemary added a brand new flavour component and the soft creamy potatoes - you have to eat it to believe it.

Baked Potato and Rosemary Gratin
Adapted from the book Rachel Allen Bake! (Serious bakers, Go buy!)

* The original recipe is more detailed and calls for smoked Gouda cheese, or a combination of cheeses. Also herbs. This here is the recipe we made with the ingredients we found, and then adjusting it to our taste. Another thing, I was not sure of the Gouda cheese - all that talk about stinky cheeses being better and all. While Gouda cheese is certainly strong, it is the perfect cheese for this recipe. However, if you wish to use gruyère or parmesan or a mix like this recipe here, feel free.

You need:

800 gms Potatoes, peeled and chopped into thin round slices
600 gms Onions, thinly sliced
50 gms butter (if you are using salted, reduce the amount of salt later) for frying
150 gms Gouda Cheese
1 large cup cream (Not whipped. I used the fresh, homemade variety. Use whatever you have on hand.)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper powder
10 stalks of fresh rosemary (use them as is or chop them up)

(I have to add here that all the ingredients were bought/made locally - so you need not worry about fancy, imported, boutique stuff - use what you find locally - it is just as good)

1. Preheat the oven to a 180 degree Celsius. In a large deep bottomed pan, heat the oil and add the sliced onions to them. Fry them until they turn a dark golden brown colour at which stage, they are caramelized. Stir them intermittently, so that they don't stick to the bottom and burn. Season them with salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. Now assemble all the ingredients - the sliced potatoes, the rosemary,  the cream. Grate the cheese and set aside.

3. Take a shallow bottom oven proof dish and lightly oil the insides. I needed two dishes to use the entire quantity of ingredients - a large pan and a small 15 cm square pan. I used glass dishes, but you can use a cake pan if you wish. Then arrange a layer of potato slices at the bottom of the pan. Then add a layer of caramelized onions. Then a layer of cheese. Add a small stalks of rosemary to that. Then repeat. Until the dish is layered till the top.

3. Then pour the cream all over the top until it covers the dish in an even layer and add a few more sprigs of rosemary. Cover this with a piece of aluminium foil

4. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes until the top of the gratin becomes crispy and turns a nice golden brown.

5. Cut into wedges, and serve as a side with a green salad or roast lamb or chicken.


  1. Anonymous22 May, 2012

    Hi Kshitija,
    Looking for crushed potato with poached egg recipe. Any idea how to make delicious crushed potatoes?

  2. No, i'm afraid I haven't made crushed potatoes or poached egg. Are you by chance talking of mashed potatoes/eggs benedict style recipe? This one would be good - For poached eggs, see step 7 in


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