My daughter was assisting Donna during these videos for Le Creuset cookware (which I love, and am genuinely honored to be working with this company; seriously, not worthy, but I try). After the shoot, Addison said, angrily, real anger, “Why don’t you make that potato cheesy thing for me?!”

“Good lord,” I said, “I’d make them all the time if I thought you’d eat them!” [I didn’t say, “Because of all the things you refused to eat when I tried to make good food for you!”] I cherish her but she’s difficult.

Fact is, these are the easiest, best potatoes ever, and in this Le Creuset gratin dish, they not only cook perfectly, they’re gorgeous to serve. Watch the video—shallots are key, and I love that you can start the dish on the stovetop.

And Le Creuset is GIVING AWAY ten—yes, TEN!—of these gratin dishes on their site. Just fill out the simple for below the video. Or just make the recipe, also there and below. Details on these giveaways and how they came about are here, and believe me, I wouldn’t be doing this if Le Creuset weren’t my favorite cookware, period.

Addison, can’t wait till you’re home again, because these potatoes are waiting for you!

By the way: I’ll be in Chicago this weekend. Join me and Brian
as we demo and talk Salumi!

See below.

Potato Gratin

  • 4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
  • 3 cups grated Gruyère cheese

Serves 8

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C.
  2. With a mandoline, cut the potatoes into 1/8-inch slices, or slice thinly with a knife. They can be cut ahead of time and held submerged in cold water for up to a day.
  3. Place the cast-iron gratin dish over medium heat. Add the butter and shallot, and cook until the shallot is translucent.
  4. Layer half the potatoes in the dish. Pour 1 cup of the half-and-half over the potatoes. Season generously with salt and pepper, and judiciously with nutmeg—3 or 4 gratings should do.
  5. Cover the potatoes with half of the cheese. Repeat the layers with the remaining ingredients. Cover the dish with foil and bake until the potatoes are tender, 45 to 60 minutes. This step can be done up to 3 days before serving.
  6. To finish the potatoes, remove the foil, turn up the heat to 415°F/213°C, and continue cooking until the top is golden brown, or put them under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

Upcoming Events:


19 (Friday): Hog Breakdown Salumi Style with Ruhlman and Polcyn

7:00–9:00 pm
Floriole Café & Bakery
1220 W Webster Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60614

On Friday, October 19, Butcher & Larder will have the honor of hosting Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn in celebration of their new book, Salumi. We will be butchering a Catalpa Grove Berkshire hog as described in Salumi and discussing the hows and whys of butchering and how it relates to the craft of salumi. Polcyn and Ruhlman will be available to sign books and answer questions.

Tickets are $95 (includes a copy of the book) and can be purchased over the phone (773-687-8280) or in person at the Butcher & Larder. Availability is extremely limited.

For more info please visit Butcher & Larder.


20 (Saturday): Hog Breakdown Salumi Style with Ruhlman and Polcyn

1:00–3:00 pm
The Publican
837 West Fulton Market Chicago, IL 60607

The Publican is pleased to announce that the highly-acclaimed Brian Polcyn (chef and proprietor of Michigan’s celebrated Forest Grill) and Michael Ruhlman (renowned culinary author of works including Ruhlman’s Twenty and The Elements of Cooking) will be offering an in-restaurant demonstration on Saturday, October 20, from 1:00–3:00 pm to promote their latest work—Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing. Charcuterie prepared by Brian Polcyn will be complimentary to all attendants and all beverages may be purchased based upon consumption. Reservations are not required, so please mark your calendars in preparation for what is sure to be an amazing afternoon. Again, this event is FREE and open to all!


21 (Sunday): Charcuterie Workshop

11:00 am—2:00 pm
EL Ideas
2419 W. 14th Street, Chicago, IL 60608

Chef Phillip Foss and his team are proud to welcome Brian Polcyn and Michael Ruhlman into EL Ideas for a one-day workshop and book signing promoting their recently released book, Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing. During the three-hour session, attendees will be able to interact with the authors and observe the techniques and insights featured in the recently released book and follow-up to their widely acclaimed Charcuterie.

Cost: $165/person—charge upon making the reservation

Please call EL Ideas at 312-226-8144 or email us at


22–24 (Monday–Wednesday): Pigstock Traverse City

Pigstock Events Schedule

This three-day course is designed to provide you with an appreciation of what makes the Mangalitsa pig unique, from its breeding and raising practices, to the methods of processing a hog from the inside all the way out, and finally to producing world-class salumi and charcuterie products. This year for the first time ever, we will also compare Mangalitsa to Berkshire/Duroc and commercial/market hogs.

Monday, October 22: Breakfast on your own—Slaughter at Santucci Farm—Lunch onsite—Afternoon wine tour of Traverse City wineries (optional)—Dinner on your own (we plan on having suggestions).

Tuesday, October 23: Breakfast on your own—Classes at Hagerty Center all day—Lunch onsite—Six-course dinner prepared by some of the best local chefs inspired by Polcyn and Ruhlman’s new book, Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing (additional cost). This event features an interview with Polcyn and Ruhlman during the dinner.

Wednesday, October 24: Breakfast on your own—Classes at Hagerty Center all day—Lunch onsite—Program ends in the late afternoon.

Details and Payment: Attendance limited to the first 60 registrants—Payment must be paid in full at time of registration—Registration nonrefundable; registration is transferable if you are unable to attend—$750 full registration or $500 for viewing only.

Other links you may like:

© 2012 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2012 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.