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Posh Potato and Ham Gratin at the Cordon Bleu School:
Quite often when I go to a cookery event I am conscious that the dish I have learnt may never be made again. Most of my cooking at home is simple. When it is NOT simple, it is generally something that requires long, slow cooking and is made in advance for supper parties or lunches. It’s always a joy to find recipes that I know I will make again – and in the case of the potato and parma ham gratin we learnt to make at the Cordon Bleu School, I can see it becoming a supper staple. The other part of our menu was rather more complicated and involved filleting lemon sole. I will certainly try again at home and will share once I am confident in my own technique.
Meanwhile, with the help of a packet of Parma ham, a potato and a ball of Mozzarella we created a dish that was essentially a very grand version of the ham and potato hotpot that I first made as a student. We served the whole dish with a Sauce Vierge, the kind of simple dressing that will work just as well on a plain piece of grilled fish as with something like this potato and Parma ham gratin.
The method for making the gratin meant that the whole dish was ready in 45 minutes and the use of Parma ham made a dish that would be a good supper dish with a salad or side dish for a buffet.
An easy and reasonably fast recipe for a parma ham and potato gratin
- 1 Large Potato
- 4-5 Slices Parma Ham
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Buffalo Mozzarella
Preheat the oven to 180c
Wash, peel and cut the potato into 3mm slices, then pan fry in olive oil in batches till the potatoes start to soften and the edges begin to caramelise
Cover the base of the gratin dish with potato slices, then layer ham and potato finishing with a layer of ham.
Top the ham with mozzarella slices
Wrap the gratin dish in foil and place in the oven on a baking tray
Cook for 20 minutes, then uncover and place back in the oven for 5-15 minutes till the top is golden brown
Once the gratin dish is out of the oven, press the mixture down with a spatula, put to one side and allow to rest for 20 minutes or so
An easy yet rich and decadent recipe for a potato and ham gratin
The Sauce Vierge is easily made by finely dicing and frying a shallot for a few minutes, then adding 50ml of red wine vinegar and a teaspoon of crushed black peppercorns and reducing the mixture till sticky. Then, add a tablespoon of olive oil and leave to cool. Finish by adding the flesh of a chopped skinned tomato, a little fresh diced Parma ham and a good handful of finely chopped fresh tarragon.
What makes this dish work so well is, I believe, the quality of the ingredients. Using Parma ham which is a PDO product that can only be made in a specific part of Italy and has to be produced using a highly regulated traditional method. It has a unique, delicate flavour and a sweet salty taste. It’s 100% natural and is aged for at least a year and up to 3 years.
I loved my lesson from Chef David Duverger at the Cordon Bleu school. They run a series of courses and classes open to the public, though this event was a special evening sponsored by the Parma Ham Consortium
Thinking of making this recipe for potato and Parma ham gratin yourself? Why not pin it for later…