On holidays like Memorial Day - when I'm usually tending to the barbecue or smoker - I like to serve side dishes that can be prepped in advance and that don't
require space on the grill, which is usually taken up with meats, chicken and the like.
This recipe for creamy, cheesy potatoes au gratin is the perfect solution. You can do all the prep work early in the day, or even the night before, and then just bake in the oven an hour before mealtime.
2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and sliced very thin
2 cups heavy cream
leaves from 4-5 thyme sprigs
1/4 cup minced fresh chives
1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (don't skimp on the cheese and use something inferior)
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Peel and slice the potatoes almost paper thin. You could do this with a knife, but it's much quicker and easier with a mandolin or V-slicer.
Place the potato slices in a large bowl.
Combine the potatoes with all the other ingredients, reserving 1/2 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano and 1 Tbs. of the chives for later use.
After you've mixed the ingredients well, turn into a casserole dish, flattening the potatoes out with a spatula.
Top the potatoes with the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
Remove the potatoes au gratin when the gratin is bubbly and the potatoes are tender. I usually turn on the broiler briefly at the end of the cooking time to nicely brown the potatoes and give it a little crust.
Garnish with the remaining tablespoon of minced chives.
Serve with your favorite entree and enjoy!