The French like their potatoes in all forms and varieties. It is such a versatile vegetable, that goes so well with so many different types of foods. They are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Not to mention that they taste quite good.
A staple vegetable that was easily available in good times and in bad, potatoes have become quite prominent in French cuisine. Prepared in many different ways, here are the top French potato dishes that you are bound to love. So let’s get to it, shall we? Allons-y!
1. Gratin Dauphinois
The gratin dauphinois used to be a meal for the poor. Potatoes and heavy cream combined over a fire, this simple and hearty meal is filling and delicious.
These days with rich ingredients like cheese, bacon lardons, and fresh spinach, this classic recipe is a great comfort dish that the whole family will love. You can get the recipe for gratin dauphinois here.
2. Frites (fries)
French fries, or frites as they are called in French, are actually Belgian. Since Belgium is on the French border, and French is an official language in Belgium, the confusion arose.
Potatoes cut into long strips and deep-fried were served to American, Canadian, and British troops in Belgium during World War I. Those troops then took stories of “french fries” home with them.
Another popular dish that you will see on brasserie and café menus all across France is the steak frites which is a steak paired with French fries. Having traveled all over the world, the “french fry” is now a classic. You can read more food facts from France here.
3. Lyonnaise Potatoes
Lyonnaise potatoes involves of sliced potatoes that are pan fried and sautéed in butter with parsley. Bacon lardons and thinly sliced onions are also sometimes added to the recipe.
Lyonnaise potatoes are usually served as an accompaniment to a meat dish, like roti de boeuf.
If you like cheese and potatoes, there is nothing not to like about a tartiflette. This hearty meal has copious amounts of reblochon cheese and bacon lardons topped onto sliced potatoes, and is local to the Alpine region of France. It is usually served as a main, but you can have it as a side as well.
If you are a connaisseur of French gastronomy, you will note that the ingredients in a tartiflette are suspiciously quite similar to that of the gratin dauphinois potatoes.
In fact, the main difference is that for au gratin potatoes, you can use more or less whatever cheese catches your fancy, while a tartiflette must include reblochon cheese which comes from the Alps mountains. You can get the recipe for tartiflette here.
Serve with: Local Vin de Savoie and a traditional digestif like genepi to wash it down after the meal.
Raclette is a semi-hard type of cheese, traditionally made from non-pasteurized milk.
Friends and family gather together at the end of the day and cook the cheese together, melting it to place on top of potatoes and charcuterie (salt-cured hams). You can read more about eating raclette here.
6. Mushroom and Potato Gratin
If plain potatoes in a gratin seems a little boring, add in some mushrooms to vary the flavor.
You can choose any type of mushroom to add to the dish, but I usually use white button or cremini (brown) mushrooms. You can also use oyster, button or stemmed shiitake mushrooms. You can get the recipe for mushroom and potato gratin here.
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7. Potato egg scramble
Known as oeufs brouillés, scrambled eggs are a grand classic in French cuisine. They can be cooked in under 10 minutes and can be as hard or soft as you wish. And for a heartier version, we have the potato egg scramble.
Mixed with some potatoes, it makes for an easy and healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can get the recipe for a cheesy potato egg scramble here.
8. Pommes Aligot
If you are visiting France in winter, you have to make it a point to try some pommes aligot. It is a dish made from cheese blended into mashed potatoes, with plenty of cream and crushed garlic mixed in.
Pommes aligot is basically like a cheese fondue, except slightly thicker because of the mashed potato in it. The cheeses in the recipe are traditionally made with the Tomme de Laguiole (Tomme fraîche), or Tomme d’Auvergne cheese. Get the recipe for aligot here.
9. Boursin hasselback potatoes
Hasselback potatoes is one of those simple yet elegant potato side dishes that looks like it is quite difficult to make. And when you add some French boursin cheese on it, it takes the dish to a whole another level.
Boursin cheese is a creamy, herby, and flavorful spread was created in 1957 by François Boursin, a cheese maker from Normandy. Get the recipe for boursin hasselback potatoes here.
If you enjoyed that article, you may like to read more about other classic French foods. A bientôt!