When I started getting into wine, I would rate each by how much of a glass I could drink. Sweet whites: half to three quarters of a glass. Dry whites: a full glass. Any red: a few sips. My classic line while tasting a Viu Manent Secreto Malbec at Brennan’s for the first time was, “Wow. I think I could drink half a glass of this.” Mind you it was an aside to my dad and Sandy, but Dale – our favorite Brennan’s wine guy, eagerly awaiting our comments – overheard and chuckled, dubbing it the Heather Rating System. Whenever we go back and Dale’s running the tastings, he asks how much of a glass I could drink.

Since then my subtle preference for dry and off-dry whites remains, but I’ve grown to appreciate sweet whites, blends, and even reds – from light and airy to full and tannic. Meh, tannic wines are still only half a glass, but I’m trying. In fact, with this meal we drank 2007 Trapiche Oak Cask Malbecbig red. Not face-melting, although it’s definitely suited to our tiny [“I feel like a giant!”] wine tumblers. One glass.

Much like my wine rating system, he [perhaps unknowingly] rates foods in a similar, yet unspoken way. He is especially particular with potatoes, being not fond of baked potatoes or any cooking method that leaves the flesh soft. Let’s just say his potato of choice is a fried chip.

Knowing his affinity for crispy thin potatoes [and having wanted to try this recipe for quite some time], I made potatoes boulangère to accompany our broiled salmon for supper last night.

DSCF0001Potatoes boulangère [serves 4 as a side]

Printable recipe

4 mealy potatoes, such as Idaho, sliced thinly with a mandoline

1 medium onion

3/4 c chicken [or beef, veg] stock

1 T butter, finely diced

sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1 T rosemary, chopped [optional]

Preheat oven to 350º F. Butter a shallow 9″, ovenproof dish and set aside.

In a small saucepan, bring stock to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, slice potatoes and onion on a mandolin at setting #2 [second thinnest].

Put a layer of potatoes in the bottom of the buttered dish, overlapping slightly. Add a layer of onions and season well, then repeat the layers until all the ingredients are used. Finish with a neat layer of potatoes overlapping each other and push down firmly.

Pour over the hot stock and dot with the butter. If desired, sprinkle rosemary on top of the potatoes as well [we only did half]. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours or until the top is golden brown and crunchy, and the potatoes are soft right through when tested with the point of a knife.  If the potatoes are done but the top has not browned, broil the top until potatoes reach desired color, 1-2 minutes. Serve hot.

From eat drink live by Fran Warde

DSCF0004-1It reminded me of a cross between rösti and scalloped potatoes. Minus the cheese of course. But that would be a great addition for another time… which is exactly what he suggested to make this better… along with slicing the potatoes even thinner so they crisp more. I’ll get it right some time.