Potatoes are delicious, but they sometimes feel sort of frumpy and old-fashioned. Not these potatoes! Scalloped potatoes are elegant — the wafer-thin slices suffused with flavor, the delicate layers reminiscent of pastry. Yet, impressive as they are, scalloped potatoes are easy to prepare, and this version, which includes Gruyere and ham, is substantial enough to serve as a main course.
Some gratin recipes begin with a bechamel — a stove-top sauce made from flour, butter and cheese — but I’ve found that the potatoes have ample starch to hold the dish together as long as you use a wide, shallow baking dish. There’s a French potato dish, gratin dauphinois, that adds a subtle garlic flavor by rubbing the baking dish with garlic, and I’ve added that technique here for a hint of garlic flavor.
Pro tip: This gratin is lovely with almost any cheese. Try replacing the Gruyere with cheddar, Parmesan, or Gouda.