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Q: Tips for make-ahead dishes


Blue Heron
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I have a practical question that I'd like to get your opinion on.  I would like to bring a potato side dish, such as Scalloped Potatoes, Potatoes Dauphinois, Potatoes Savoyarde, or other gratin type dish to our family Easter dinner.  Is there a technique that would work well for making it ahead and reheating it successfully (without drying out)?  Could I assemble ahead, and then bake there, or partially bake at home and finish baking there, or would it be best to fully bake at home and then reheat?  Or would this type of dish not lend well to making ahead and is there something you could suggest that might work better for a make ahead dish?  How do restaurants handle this type of 'make ahead' issue?

Thanks!

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Potato Gratin can certainly be prepared ahead of time until just cooked through. The reheat should be long and gentle, even a water bath would aid in the gentle reheating.

The way we make gratin potatoes is to make a flavorful, heavily seasoned creme base (salt, pepper, minced garlic, fresh thyme). Basically we bring this up to simmer and throw the sliced potatoes in and let it cook on the stovetop for 3-4 minutes. The potato starch will release and make the mixture thick. Pour the mixture into a baking dish and finish the process -- we find this works particularly well on a reheat because the potato starch keeps the mixture from breaking (due to the high fat content of heavy creme).

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