Can You Really Dislike A Gratin? — Pouvez-vous vraiment ne pas aimer le gratin ?

gratin dauphinois celeriac potatoes tartine gourmande

“Une bien cuite, s’il vous plaît !” (One well cooked, please!) Do you remember hearing these words while walking into a French bakery? This is pretty much a buzz sentence, a language you need to be able to talk to order your baguette à la boulangerie. Some people like their baguette to be well cooked, very crunchy, with a lot of crust — le croûton (the end part) being the best part, really — while others prefer theirs hardly cooked, bien blanche (almost white). It is a question of taste and preference. The story of le gratin, on the other hand, is something else altogether.

Gratin: n. m. French word meaning “ce qui attache et rissole au fond d’un récipient de cuisson, et qu’on ne détache qu’en grattant”. From the verb, gratter, to scrape. In other words, any food that sticks and browns in a dish, which is scraped to be removed. Not a pretty thought when you first think about it, but in the end, tell me, is there really anything better than that?

Gratins are not necessarily supposed to look clean. In fact, the messier, the better since the ultimate pleasure while eating them is to get that very bottom part, with a spoon or fork — your fingers? Scrape, scrape. At home, P. and I fight over it. Eh dis-donc, laisse-moi du grillé! (Eh, leave me some of the brown part!) Grillé, cramé, brûlé, so many words to mean brown or burnt, with tiny nuances each time. But we like the top part too, ce qui est gratiné , you know, the darker bits on top. And the inside too, moist and juicy layers of vegetables. In short, we love gratins.

The traditional French gratin dauphinois is a dish made of potatoes and milk, cooked in the oven. We all have a recipe that we like best. My mum makes a fantastic one, which I love, and she probably knows this since every time I visit, it never fails: one meal will include un gratin dauphinois. I wanted to try something slightly different, and include a vegetable I am particularly fond of. Keeping with the tradition, I used potatoes (les pommes de terre) as a base — this is not a surprise, especially considering that I also have an Irish hubbie to feed — but decided to enhance the taste with the addition of another root vegetable, celeriac or commonly known as celery root (le céleri rave).

Celeriac is not as frequently cooked or liked, but in our house it is. J’adore le céleri, especially prepared grated in a salad with a strong mustard vinaigrette. Cooked or raw, it should definitely stay on the list of those vegetables you do not avoid buying. It is good! For my dish, I infused the milk and cream preparation with fresh thyme and a few garlic cloves so as to strengthen the mild flavor provided by the dairy products. No need of cheese, which I think would overwhelm the overall taste. I find that using celeriac is a great addition, turning this gratin into a lighter and more tasty dish. The two vegetables are arranged in successive layers before being cooked in the oven between 40 to 50 mns, depending on the size of the dishes you use. Leaving your gratin longer in the oven makes it darker on top too, and this is not necessarily a bad thing. This means that you will have to scrape more for the tiny little pieces that we personally love at the bottom. Le fond du plat ! And fight over it too! In situations like this, if you are the strongest — or the greediest — , you win!

Potato and Celeriac Gratin

(For 4 to 6 people)

You need:

  • 1 lb + 5 oz potatoes, yellow firm flesh
  • 14 oz celeriac
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 7 fluid oz whole milk (7/8 cup)
  • 7 fluid oz heavy cream (7/8 cup)
  • 3 thyme twigs
  • Nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, chopped finely
  • Butter


  • Pour the milk and cream in a pot and bring to a boil. Add two peeled garlic cloves (crushed) and the thyme twigs. Stop the heat and cover to let infuse for 30 mns. Filter the milk/cream preparation.
  • In the meantime, peel the potatoes and celeriac and slice them thinly (use a mandoline if you have one).
  • Place the vegetables in two different plates and season with salt and pepper.
  • Take a large oven dish or individual gratin dishes. Rub them with a garlic clove and grease them largely with butter.
  • Arrange the slices of vegetables alterning layers. Add the chopped parsley to the milk/cream preparation and pour over the vegetables. Add a dash of nutmeg and place in the preheated oven, temperature 400 F, for 45 to 50 mns (all the liquid should be absorbed, if your molds are small, check already after 35 or 40 mns).

Le coin français
Gratin de pommes de terre et de céleri rave

(Pour 4 à 6 personnes)

Ingrédients :

  • 600 g de pommes de terres, à chair ferme
  • 400 g de céleri rave
  • 3 gousses d’ail
  • 20 cl de lait entier
  • 20 cl de crème fleurette
  • 3 brins de thym
  • Noix de muscade
  • 1 càs de persil, haché finement
  • Beurre

Étapes :

  • Mettez le lait et la crème dans une casserole et amenez à ébullition. Ajoutez deux gousses d’ail pelées et écrasées, et les brins de thym. Arrêtez le feu et couvrez. Laissez infuser 30 mns avant de filtrer.
  • Pendant ce temps, pelez les pommes de terre et le céleri et coupez-les en tranches très fines (utilisez une mandoline si vous en avez une).
  • Mettez les légumes dans deux assiettes, et assaisonnez de sel et de poivre.
  • Prenez un grand plat à gratin ou des petits plats individuels. Frottez-les avec une gousse d’ail et beurrez-les largement.
  • Arrangez les tranches de pomme de terre et de céleri en alternance. Ajoutez le persil haché au mélange lait/crème, et versez-le sur les légumes. Ajoutez une pointe de noix de muscade et mettez au four préchauffé à 200 C pendant 45 à 50 mns (tout le liquide doit être absorbé, si vos moules sont petits, vérifiez la cuisson dès 35 à 40 mns).

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Posted in French Inspired, Gluten Free, Vegetarian


  1. I’m starving and your gratin is like a piece of heaven right now. I think my celeriac may not end in a soup as planned…

  2. Your gratin looks superfine! I couldn’t imagine disliking “gratin”, especially “Gratin Dauphinois” and with celeriac, then it’s really yummy!
    Your descriptions regarding the different ways the French “Baguette” is appreciated, was well-seen and well-described. And yes, we all love the crusty part of a gratin ;-P!…

  3. Mais quelles photos, comme toujours 🙂 tu arriverais à me faire baver devant des ptits pois!! euh non là oublie, c’est impossible! mais ce gratin olala…!

  4. no, all gratins are wonderful as anything involving cheese and an oven tends to be wonderful. and thank you for this recipe with celeriac as I have been contemplating buying some to try it out and have yet to decide where to start with this rooty little guy.

  5. It looks lovely. My wife lovingly called dauphinois “dolphin nose”, which I thought was sweet.

    Beautiful shot of the red tree reflecting on the lake.

  6. Ooh, gratin is the magic word for me at this time of the year… well, actually at any time! Yours is so beautiful. I love to make mixed root vegetable gratins, with parsnips, sweet potato, rutabagas, and of course celariac – yum!

  7. Bea,
    I make a version of this almost exactly the same. Celeriac is so delicious gratin. I must admit, however, that I still like a sprinkling of Gruyère in it.

  8. C’est étonnant Béa, je n’ay aurais jamais pensé sans toi, je ne suis pas une grande fan de céleri. Mais peut-être que, gratiné comme il faut…
    Chez nous c’est “pas trop cuite s’il vous plait”.
    J’adore tes photos d’automne.

  9. Ca fait un bout de temps que j’ai fais un gratin dauphimois mais maintenent qu’il commence a faire froid ca tombe a pic! J’adore le celeri cru ou cuit…ah le celeri remoulade de la cafet!

  10. Mmm. This looks delicious! And perfect for the suddenly cold weather we’re having in Boston. I love that your recipes are so appropriately seasonal.

  11. That looks so nice! In Japan, they have seafood gratin which uses macaroni, seafood and a white sauce. I’ve never seen one with potatoes here.

  12. I look at the scene, then your dish, the scene, then your dish… I’m overwhlemed by all these beautiful things! Thanks for explaining gratin that give me a better understanding on this dish.

  13. Bea, i love gratin, with lots of cheese…we can do a lot of good reipe’s out of it. I have never try doing other dishes from celeriac. thanks for this wonderful idea.

  14. I love the look of your gratin. The best bit of any gratin for me, is the crusty top layer.

  15. Your photos really capture the essence of autumn. Celeriac is an under utilized (and under appreciated) veggie. What a delicious gratin!

    And you may be jealous of my meyer lemons but I am totally envious of your walnut harvest at your uncle’s.

  16. I think my produce guide could improve the quality of your ingredients.

    Submit your blog to our Food Blog directory while your there!

  17. I love anything that involves potatoes but especially gratin. I could eat a whole dish of it!

  18. Beautiful autumn & food pictures, Bea! I was thinking of making a potato and swede gratin for supper tonight, I might use your recipe as a basis. Thanks!

  19. Framboise,
    ahah, good idea, I hope your celeriac ended up this way then. Merci de ton passage, encore une fois!

    Rosa, thank you. Right tough to dislike gratin, isn’t it?

    Jeff, ahah, sorry 😉

    Ellie, tu es drole ! Merci ! Je te promets, je vais essayer avec les petits pois ! 😉

    Mamina, merci !

    Mitsuko, ah c’est bien marrant cela.

    Connie, oh yes, try celeriac, it is a beautiful root vegetable.

    Scott, this is very funny of your wife to say that this way!

    Melissa, I think it is also a magic word for me 😉

    Stephanie, nice. I think gruyere can always be a great addition!

    Bron, thanks!

    Gracianne, ah j’espere que tu vas t’y mettre car c’est vraiment un bon lefume. Cela dit, il faut des gouts pour tout le monde.

    Sophie, merci.

    Fabienne, il faut venir ici en automne, c’est vraiment magique.

    Peabody, thank you.

    Helen, ah oui, c’est vrai, que de souvenirs que tu me donnes la, tout a coup !

    Katie, thanks. I am glad you like them!

    Thanks L.

    Kat,, oh you have to try the potato version too, delicious and so simple

    Gattina thank you for your lovely comment.

    Relly, I hope you like it.

    Peggy, merci.

    Y, oh yes, the best part, I agree, I also love the bottom I must say! 😉

    Mary, thank you. I guess we can do a trade 😉

    Ivonne, thank you.

    Jenjen, ah yes, potatoes are just such a beautiful vegetable. I love them too so much!

    Pille, what is swede in the gratin? I am curious.

    Laura, absolutely! You cannot go wrong. And indeed, fall here is magical, isn’t it?

  20. I have a fatal weakness for gratins—and yours is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen

  21. A swede is a rutabaga or yellow/Swedish turnip (confusing, eh). It ended up in a soup with carrots, so I’ll be making the plain old potato gratin after all:)

  22. Je l’ai fait et c’est délicieux!!Merci pour toutes ces recettes,ça donne envie de cuisiner!!!

  23. Hi Bea,

    How are you doing? How was Peru?

    I made your potato celery root gratin for Thanksgiving and we all loved it. Thanks so much for this great recipe!


  24. Bea, your blog is FANTASTIC like no other…and the pictures!!waooo…I am going to try your crab salad that looks so good and fresh!
    Complimenti…Felicidades…!Felicitations! Ciao

  25. yuuuuuuummmmmmmm! i’ve made this twice in the past two weeks. once for a party and once, last night, for myself for dinner. to be honest i don’t make it with the celeriac yet, celeriac being difficult to come by in my neighborhood. but even without it it is impossible to stop eating this recipe! in part because it’s super good but also, as your photos show, it is such a beautiful dish to look at on the table. thanks!

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  27. Hi Bea,
    Just a small question. What do you usually serve as a companion to gratin? Thanks so much for answering.. I look forward to trying out your recipe. 🙂

  28. Hi Ratna,

    Thanks for your note. You can serve this gratin with tons of things. I love to have it with meat, even with a nice tenderloin steak. Any meat in sauce would work. Or, for a vegetarian option, serve with a lovely mixed salad and roasted vegetables. I would tend NOT to have it with fish.

    Hope this helps, and that you like the recipe.

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