This is one of my favourite ways to eat potatoes - it's rich, silky, unctuous and garlicky. It takes only 5 minutes to prepare and then you can just forget about it until it's ready. I rarely cook it for myself but it's one of those dishes that's fab when you have guests as it never fails to impress. But I'm currently thinking ahead about a solo Christmas dinner. I've not yet decided what meat to roast (I may just grill a very large steak) but if you're using the oven anyway, then it's worth making a single portion.
Dauphinoise is a bit of a heart attack on a plate if you follow the traditional recipe, so I go for a low-fat version which is just as tasty and creamy but slashes the calorie content. I also like lots of garlic in it.
What you need:
1 large potato
2 cloves of garlic
300ml tub of low-fat crème fraiche
What to do:
Grease a one-portion pie dish with a small amount of butter. Slice the potato very thinly - about 1mm thick. Peel and slice the garlic cloves thinly. Make a layer of potato in the bottom of the dish, season, scatter over half the garlic and spread over half the crème fraiche. Repeat then finish with a final layer of potato. Dot the top with a little butter. Bake at 180C for about an hour.
If you want to follow the traditional recipe, just cut one garlic clove in half and rub it round the dish after buttering. Instead of low-fat crème fraiche, use full fat cream. Single is easiest because it pours well, but go for double if you're feeling decadent because it produces the most luxurious version.
A large baking potato is about the right size. I don't bother to peel it myself. The thinner the slices, the quicker they'll cook. Don't test with a knife for "doneness" - use a fork as it's a much better indicator of tenderness. If it's not quite ready after an hour, give it another 15 minutes.
Don't muck around with Dauphinoise too much - it's a simple dish and is best kept simple so resist the temptation to add sliced onions or bacon. At most, a tiny sprinkling of grated gruyère cheese will help to crisp up the top crust and add a little extra depth.