As soon as the book arrived (I wanted it in hardcover, not the movie tie-in re-release), I pored through it. Then I started in on Julia's My Life in France. I won't give away everything about the book, other than to say I loved it. I was also happy to see my favorite Poulet au Porto make an appearance (if only briefly on screen) in both movie and book! My only complaint is that I WANT TO KNOW what Julia said about Julie!! But no such luck.
Of course this all coincides with our trip to France this coming July!
So anyway, back to the dish at hand. Since I chose the book, I am hosting the book club gathering on Saturday. I wanted to serve something delicious (yet simple?) and of course it simply had to be out of Julia's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. (which may automatically seem to be an oxymoron in Julia's book) And I have to admit, I could never ever attempt Julie's "cook every recipe in the book" feat with this book. It's just too complicated and to me, it's hard to follow. Sorry, Julia, I had to say it. But the recipes I have tried have been fabulous!!
I was happy to find a little note in this recipe that read: "(*) May be prepared ahead to this point." Perfect.
This is a Gratin of potatoes, with ham, eggs and onions. I think it will be perfect with a simple salad served with Julia's vinaigrette.
This dish was fabulous, and there wasn't a crumb left, although I must admit I probably wouldn't make it very far in advance the next time...the potatoes didn't fare well in the fridge overnight, although they weren't too far gone to rescue. I should have put some plastic wrap directly on the mixture to prevent the blackening...and as Julia said, "who will ever know?" I'm just telling you so you can avoid it!
Gratin of Shredded Potatoes with Ham and Eggs and Onions
For 4 people
1/2 cup finely minced onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup (3 ounces) finely diced cooked ham
1/2 clove crushed garlic
2 tablespoons minced parsley and/or chives and chervil
2/3 cup (3 ounces) grated Swiss cheese
4 tablespoons whipping cream, light cream, or milk
Pinch of pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 medium-sized potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
An 11- to 12-inch baking dish or skillet about 2 inches deep or individual baking dishes about 6 inches in diameter
1/2 tablespoon butter cut into pea-sized dots
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cook the onions slowly in the oil and butter for 5 minutes or so, until tender but not browned.
Raise heat slightly, stir in ham, and cook a moment more.
Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl with the garlic, herbs, cheese, cream or milk, and seasonings. Then blend in the ham and onions.
Peel the potatoes and grate them, using large holes of grater. A handful at a time, squeeze out their water. Stir potatoes into egg mixture. Check seasoning. (*) May be prepared ahead to this point.
Heat the butter in the baking dish or skillet. When foaming, pour in the potato and egg mixture. Dot with butter. Set in upper third of preheated oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until top is nicely browned. Serve directly from the dish or skillet.