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2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
4 large baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the butter in a large pan on top of the stove over high heat and swirl it around
to coat the bottom. As the butter begins to sizzle, add the garlic, marjoram, and pepper flakes. As soon as this begins
to smell wonderful remove it from the heat. You don't want browned garlic or burned herbs. Fill the pan with layers of
sliced potatoes. Broadcast the salt and pepper over the top and wash this down with the half-and-half. Return the pan
to the stovetop and turn the heat on full blast. When the butter begins to bubble up through the half-and-half, drizzle
the heavy cream all over the top of the potatoes.
Place the gratin in the oven, uncovered, for 60 to 70 minutes. Baste from time to time. The potatoes are done when they
are completely tender and the top has become pretty and brown. Let the potatoes rest for 10 minutes before serving. This
is a great side dish for steaks or for roast chicken.
There are endless variations of this recipe. Sliced mushrooms and onions are a good addition. Lately, I've been doing a
winter version with sweet potatoes, celery root, parsnips, and carrots. No white potatoes at all. In the summer, odds
and ends from the garden can be used: some sliced tomatoes, fresh herbs, sliced squash, even beets (although the color
will be startling). And hot chiles are very good baked in heavy cream.