I was looking for dish to feed my father when he arrives with my, hansom, humorous brother from England ( 36 and single ladies ). It’s going to be 8pm when they finally land at my door, so I didn’t want a heavy meal or something too strongly flavored. Fish has to be cooked at the time, and I wanted something I could prepare in advance. I thought I would serve this tasty potato dish with light fresh salad greens with a citrus vinaigrette and asparagus. A sit down meal so we a can all celebrate their arrival, but not too much stress on their digestive system after being on route for 24 hours.
The Crab Catcher in La Jolla, on a Sunday Morning
I have a daily itinerary of places we can visit and fun activities we can do while they are visiting, including all our favorite places to eat. If you are local, I have to recommend The Crab Catcher in La Jolla, on a Sunday morning. Champagne brunch overlooking the ocean. Heaven. I have my favorite table that I book well in advance with a beautiful, unobstructed view. And their food is fabulous. I don’t say that about many places. I have a wonderful, fun group of ladies I have known for almost 10 years now. We go out to lunch every month without fail, and more often than not I am sorely disappointed with my food or I send it back. The company of course is always stupendous. I use fresh herbs from the garden and organic vegetables and eat only wild fish, and if I get anything less than that, it really tastes low quality to me. Most of the time, I would rather eat at home, but this little spot is a 10/10.
I remembered this dish from a European tour I once did as a youth. I had left on a month tour with a girlfriend, and we planned to travel to Portugal and Spain and then finish in France. Unfortunately, she spent all of her money, and had a 3rd degree sun burn over 1/4 of her body, and had to leave for home on day 8 ( I tried to tell her to use sunblock but I was being a worry wart and a buzz kill ). I was in my final week of the trip having stuck to my budget like gum to a lamppost, and could only spend a small amount on each meal. I found myself in a small cafe in Paris and could barely afford to eat anything on the menu. I saw a potato side dish that fit my budget and shyly ordered it. They could tell I was a poor student and they weren’t going to get much of a tip, so I was barely given a glance. When my sizzling dish arrived, and I took my first bite, I couldn’t believe the exquisite, delightful flavor I had in my mouth. Even though I burnt my tongue and had to empty the contents of my mouth back onto my plate, I enjoyed every bite. Crispy, Cheesy, creamy, so rich and decadent. Oh, the french can really cook. There is no seasoning at many French restaurants, and if you ask for it, they are insulted and assume you are a plebeian with an unsophisticated palate. I vowed to make this dish myself one day.
Well here it is. The day has arrived. I have made this before, but always a light version with no cheese and lots of chicken stock. This is an authentic french recipe. It is divine. It’s the kind of dish for special occasions only because it is full of calories.
- 1 Cup Milk
- 1 Cup Cream
- 2 Garlic Cloves - Crushed
- 1 Whole Sweet Onion - Very thinly sliced
- 3 Tbs Butter - Cut into small slices
- 2½ lb Yukon Gold Potatoes - Peeled and Sliced
- 2 Cups Gruyere - Grated
- 1 Bay Leaf
- Freshly Ground Sea Salt and Black Pepper
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Gently boil milk and add garlic cloves and a bay leaf. Let sit and continue.
- Grease baking dish with butter.
- Peel potatoes and cut into ⅛-inch-thick slices. You can use a food processor and make them really thin and uniform.
- Layer ⅓ of sliced Pots into baking dish. Add ⅓ of onion, cheese and ¼ of butter slices and seasoning.
- Continue until you have 3 layers.
- Pour over warmed milk and add cream. Discard the bay leaf but keep the garlic.
- Add remaining butter slices to the top, and bake for 30 - 40 minutes.
- Leave to sit for 5 minutes before serving so you don't burn your tongue.