The first time I made a potato gratin was the same time I swore I’d never do it again. Peeling and slicing all those potatoes – I didn’t even own a mandoline at the time – was far too time consuming. You know how much I like easy dishes and a gratin was just tedious enough that I filed it away into my “only for very special occasions” recipe category.
The crazy thing is that I’ve been using Simply Potatoes products for several years now, but I almost always reach for the Traditional Mashed Potatoes variety (what can I say, I love them)! Until now, it hadn’t occurred to me to use the sliced version, but, once it did, I couldn’t buy them fast enough! I adore cheesy potato gratins, especially for the holidays. And with Easter just around the corner, it’s the perfect side dish.
I didn’t even bother carefully layering the potatoes into my individual baking dishes. I found that as long as the top had a few potatoes lying flat, and I pressed it down a little, it was just as if I’d taken the time to layer them. It literally took me two minutes to get my potatoes in the dishes – a completely different experience from the first time I made my gratin! I also tried un-molding a few of them and they held together very nicely. I just ran a knife around the outside to loosen them up then inverted them onto individual plates (as in the photo below). It made for an impressive and upscale presentation, so try whichever version fits your holiday gathering the best.
Because I wanted this to be an Easter recipe, I decided to glam up my gratin just a bit and top it with some crispy pancetta and a drizzle of balsamic. I love the texture contrast and saltiness that the pancetta brings, and the balsamic glaze is out of this world. You will be amazed at not only how quickly this easy recipe comes together but how delicious it is, too!
goat cheese potato gratin with crispy pancetta and a balsamic glaze
- 1 package Simply Potatoes Homestyle Slices
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 5 oz. goat cheese, plus extra for top of gratins
- ½ t kosher salt
- 4 oz. pancetta, diced
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Spray four 8-ounce ramekins or mini casserole dishes with cooking spray. Remove potato slices from package, and divide evenly among dishes, keeping potatoes as flat as possible at the top.
- Pour cream into a small bowl, and add goat cheese and salt. Using a fork, continuously mash goat cheese into cream until incorporated. Divide cream mixture evenly, and pour over potatoes. Place dishes on a baking sheet, and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly and potatoes are cooked through.
- Meanwhile, cook pancetta in a small 6-inch skillet over medium heat until crispy. Drain on paper towel to remove any excess grease. Wipe out pan with a paper towel, and pour in balsamic vinegar. Boil over medium heat until reduced by just over half so it becomes syrupy (don’t boil too long, vinegar will thicken as it cools; you can always boil down more if it’s not thick enough after a few minutes of cooling).
- Remove potatoes from oven and immediately crumble a small amount of goat cheese on top, and allow cheese to soften while potatoes cool slightly (about 5 minutes). Drizzle with a small amount of balsamic glaze, and top with pancetta. Serve extra vinegar and pancetta at the table. (You may also garnish with a small amount of thyme, if desired).