What could be better than a potato gratin made with Irish wild garlic and real Irish cheese and cream?
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This is a twist on one of those great potato dishes that taste magic, is easy to cook and you keep forgetting to make until something else reminds you and then you want it.
I was down the garden today and the smell of my wild garlic plants wafted over and ticked me on the nose. "Mmm," I thought, "oven-baked creamy wild garlic and cheese potatoes." So I made them this evening and here's the recipe.
Use a good floury potato because they'll be perfect for soaking up the cream. The Red Duke of York is a fantastic all-round potato being good for roasting, mashing, baking, or making chips. I used a mix of Cheddar and Parmesan because I like to. You can use just cheddar cheese if you wish.
The taste of wild garlic is more subtle compared to normal cloves of garlic and the flowers aren't out on them yet here in Donegal.
* If you don't have any wild garlic leaves you can use 4 normal garlic cloves and optional freshly chopped parsley instead.
Irish baked garlic cheese potato recipe
3 ½ lbs (1.5kg) potatoes
1 pint (500ml) whipping cream
4oz (100g) cheddar cheese, grated
2oz (50g) Parmesan cheese, grated
*About 10 wild garlic leaves, shredded thinly
Freshly ground black pepper
Read more: The 8,000-year history of Irish cuisine
Peel and slice thinly all the potatoes using a sharp knife, the blades on a grater or a mandolin. Place them in a large bowl.
Add all the grated Parmesan cheese, most of the cheddar cheese, the cream, the garlic or the wild garlic. Add 8-10 twists of freshly ground pepper.
Mix everything together well with a large spoon and then scoop it into a 2" deep baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese over the top and flatten everything down gently.
Bake in a preheated oven at 175°C, 350°F, Gas 4 for 1 hour. After 30 minutes, take the dish out and gently press the potatoes down again to let the cream come up over the top of the mix. Pop it back in the oven to finish the cooking time.
The top of the potato dish will be lightly crispy and brown and it will be ready to eat straight away.
If you want to, you can make this the day before a special dinner, let it cool completely when cooked and cut it into squares. When you're ready to eat, it heats up in a hot oven or in a microwave quite quickly to serve as a garnish or a side dish.
There you go, simple and very tasty oven-baked creamy wild garlic and cheese potatoes. Yum!
For more from Zack see www.IrishFoodGuide.ie.
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* Originally published in 2013.