These Cheesy Potatoes au Gratin feature layers upon layers of thinly sliced potatoes covered with two types of delicious Mahón-Menorca cheese!
Disclosure: I’ve partnered with Mahon-Menorca Cheese and Thought for Food & Son to create this Cheesy Potatoes au Gratin post. The recipe and opinions are entirely my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Spiced!
I’ve always been fascinated how local environments impact the flavor of our food. Take sourdough bread for example. Sourdough is made from wild yeast captured from the local air. As such, a sourdough made in San Francisco could very well taste different than a sourdough made in upstate New York. Sure, the general sour taste will be there, but there could be slight differences due to the variation of wild yeasts in these areas. I personally love sourdough bread, but I’ve yet to eat sourdough bread made in San Francisco. That’s on my foodie bucket list!
Another item on my foodie bucket list: see how Mahón-Menorca cheese is made. Mahón-Menorca cheese is made on the small island of Menorca, one of the Balearic Islands located off the eastern coast of Spain. According to historical records, cheese has been made on Menorca dating back to 3000 BC. Owing in part to this long history of cheese-making, Mahón-Menorca cheese is now well respected within not only Spain but the rest of Europe as well.
The island of Menorca is only about 300 square miles, and its fields are irrigated largely by rainfall. Thus, the grasses and pastures on Menorca have a higher sea salt content. The dairy cattle on Menorca eat these grasses, and this in turn gives Mahón-Menorca cheese a unique, slightly salty flavor. I love all cheeses, and I’ve got to say that Mahón-Menorca cheese is delicious!
Another unique aspect of Mahón-Menorca cheese is the way it’s aged. Mahón-Menorca cheese is produced in 3 different degrees of maturity: Tender-Soft (aged 21-60 days), Semi-Cured (aged 2-5 months) and Cured-Hard (aged 5+ months). I found it quite interesting how the flavor profile of the cheese changed based on the length of maturity. The Soft Mahón-Menorca cheese is light, buttery and quite tasty. The Cured Mahón-Menorca cheese, noted by its light brown rind, is more pungent but also delicious. The flavor profile of the Semi-Cured cheese falls in between. All are unique, and all are delicious!
Cheesy Potatoes au Gratin
For these Cheesy Potatoes au Gratin, I decided to reach back into my mother’s recipe binder for her famous (at least within our family) potatoes au gratin recipe. Now I realize that calling this recipe Cheesy Potatoes au Gratin is a bit of a repetition as ‘au gratin’ itself means covered with cheese and/or breadcrumbs. But, hey, this Cheesy Potatoes au Gratin is made with 2 types of Mahón-Menorca cheese, so the name works. It’s a cheesy recipe, and it makes for one amazing side dish!
The traditional way of eating Mahón-Menorca cheese is simply drizzling the cheese with olive oil and a sprig of fresh rosemary. However, the creamy texture of this cheese also lends itself to grating over pasta and potatoes. So I grabbed my trusty cheese grater, and I grated off a bit of both the Semi-Cured and Cured Mahón-Menorca cheeses.
For making this Cheesy Potatoes au Gratin, I highly recommend using a mandolin to slice the potatoes as thinly as possible. (The thicker the potatoes, the longer they will take to cook.) From there, just layer the potatoes into a baking dish with milk & cream as well as the shredded cheeses. After a little more than an hour, you’re left with a side dish worthy of company! I also decided to sprinkle crispy bacon on top of these Cheesy Potatoes au Gratin because I love the texture as well as the taste of bacon when combined with cheese and potatoes.
As we kick off the holiday season, I encourage you to stop by your local cheese shop, grab a couple wedges of Mahón-Menorca cheese and then whip up a batch of these Cheesy Potatoes au Gratin at home. Cheers, friends!
Did you make these Cheesy Potatoes au Gratin? Leave a comment and let me know! Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog).
Looking for more cheesy recipes? Check out these favorites, too:
Cheesy Potatoes au Gratin
- 1½ cups milk 2% or whole
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tsp fresh thyme chopped
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1½ cups Semi-Cured Mahón-Menorca Cheese shredded
- ½ cup Cured Mahón-Menorca Cheese shredded
- 2 lbs potatoes washed and thinly sliced (see note)
- 8 oz. thick-cut bacon
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Grease a standard baking dish; set dish aside.
- Using a medium mixing bowl, add milk, heavy cream, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper; stir until well combined.
- Using a separate bowl, add the Semi-Cured Mahón-Menorca Cheese and the Cured Mahón-Menorca Cheese; stir until well combined.
- Spread ⅓ of the sliced potatoes into the prepared baking dish. Pour ⅓ of the milk mixture evenly on top. Sprinkle ⅓ of the cheese mixture on top.
- Repeat process with another ⅓ of the sliced potatoes, another ⅓ of the milk and another ⅓ of the cheese.
- Finally, layer remaining ⅓ of sliced potatoes on top and pour remaining ⅓ of the milk on top. (Note: The remaining ⅓ of the cheese will be saved for later.)
- Cover dish with foil and bake for 60-65 minutes, or until potatoes are fork-tender. Remove foil and bake uncovered for 10 more minutes.
- While potatoes are baking, use a deep skillet to cook bacon until crispy. Transfer bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and pat dry. Crumble bacon into a small bowl; set bowl aside.
- Remove dish from oven and top with remaining ⅓ of cheese. Sprinkle crumbled bacon on top. Bake for 10-12 more minutes, or until cheese on top has completely melted.
- Remove dish from oven and let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.