Batata Gratinada

One night, later than I usually eat, Geremias prepared one of his specialty dishes.  And, since it was potatoes, it was a no-lose situation.  I love any and all kind of potato dishes.  This was his home-made version of au-gratin potatoes.  I don’t think I ever had them before when they didn’t come out of a box mix.  Of course, it was wonderful.

Batata Gratinada
Geremias Cilião, Campo Mourão, Brasil
2 pounds of potatoes
6 cloves of crushed garlic
½ tsp ground nutmeg
4 cups grated white cheese
10 slices yellow cheese
3.5 Tbs of butter
1 can of thick cream
salt to taste
It’s always good to learn something new.  And, when it’s about my favorite food, it’s even better.  I learned something new.  Geremias said to slice the potatoes and then place them in water to prevent them from yellowing.  I’d never heard that one before.

Making the potatoes is like layering a lasagna.  Place a layer of potatoes in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Top them with a little grated cheese, some of the crushed garlic, a little thick cream, some grated nutmeg, a spoonful of butter, and salt to taste.  Geremias had a spiffy baby size grater and actually used it on a nutmeg seed.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen nutmeg not already nicely ground up for me.  Whatever you have in your kitchen is fine, but I was fascinated with the seed.

Repeat the process as necessary to fill the casserole.  I’m guessing three or four layers.  On the final layer, top everything with a layer of sliced yellow cheese.  I really wasn’t told specific types of cheese to use.  As long as your layers are white and your top is yellow, it’s going to look authentic.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 50 to 60 minutes at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).  Then, take off the foil, and brown the top for another 15 minutes.  This was the entire meal for about eight people.  Everyone was happy.

Especially me.