I have a little story to tell about my Herbs De Provence: They actually came from Provence, France. I picked them up in beautiful open air market in Nice. I know, I know, I’m dropping names now. I’m an avid traveller and everywhere I go I end up focusing on regional foods. Since I live to eat, food is a central focus in my life outside of collecting antiques and drinking (oh yeah and working too, I guess). Anyway back to Nice, I bought this rustic bag of herbs and have have been hoarding it ever since. Every time I bring this bag out and smell the herbs, I am taken back to that morning in Nice, where the sun was shining, the weather was hot, and the market was bustling with locals and tourists. My mom and I (my partner in traveling adventures) ate our way through that market. We started with fresh, just picked strawberries that were so sweet that we were brought to tears. We enjoyed fresh breads and croissants and whatever else we could get our hands on and eat right away. Just thinking about it now brings me back to that sunny day. This recipe featured my prized Herbs De Provence and is an easy side dish to throw together. It is quintessentially French. It is delicate and makes a great side dish to many chicken mains. This was my side dish to the Apple Cinnamon Chicken, but I would put this with any chicken or turkey main. It is very similar to my last Gratin post, but with Herbs De Provence being the aromatic focus instead of sage.
Gratin of Potato with Shallot and Herbs De Provence
3 large shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 potatoes, thinly sliced (I leave the skins on - Yukon Gold works best)
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup milk (I used skim)
2 tablespoons butter
1 heaping tablespoon of flour
2 tsp Herbs De Provence
Fresh ground pepper
- Melt butter on low heat in small frying pan. Add onions, garlic, Herbs De Provence and lightly fry until moisture comes out, about 2 minutes. Add flour; stir and remove from heat.
- In a small saucepan, mix the cream, milk, onion mixture, salt and pepper and lightly warm up. Do not boil. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes to let the flavours mix.
- Grease a small casserole or loaf pan; place a layer of potatoes and sprinkle with salt & pepper.
- With a slotted spoon, pull out some of the shallot mixture and add to the potatoes. Add another layer or potatoes and repeat until the potatoes are used up.
- Pour over the cream mixture.
- Preheat oven to 400deg F and bake for 30 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
Note: As I only cook on weekends for 2 people, this dish served 2, plus some leftovers.