BY BRITTANY MATTIE SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY MAR 22, 2018
Bonjour bonté au fromage! That’s, ‘Hello cheesy goodness!’ in French, of course. The classic casserole, Pommes Gratin Dauphinois, comes from the south-east region of France, Dauphiné. Owner of Bijou Café, JP Knaggs traveled to France specifically to learn how to make this signature dish and bring the foreign intell back with him to Sarasota. Clearly the trip paid for itself—it’s been on their menu for over 30 years. JP jokes that Pommes Gratin Dauphinois single handedly put his son, Jeffrey through college. The piping hot commodity gets patrons singing Ooh là là as they experience one addictive spoonful after the other. Pair it with a pinky-up-in-the-air glass of Bijou Café’s exclusive Le Jardin Cuvée prestige chardonnay, bottled from the Loire Valley to honor JP’s mother’s french heritage.
While there are many variants of the name of the dish, the composition remains consistent with peeled potatoes, thinly sliced and layered in a casserole dish with crème and cheese, which are then all cooked in a buttered dish rubbed with garlic. Baked in a slow oven for more than an hour, add more cheese, then bake it longer. But your patience is a virtue when this string cheese incident comes sauntering out of the hot box. The cheesy bits crisped on the outside tease you with what’s awaiting inside—the golden potatoes softened to perfection, melted within the curated crème sauce. The beloved side dish is served in two sizes, small and large (always make it your cheat day and go for the large). The richness of this dish alone will bring you to your knees. Compliments au chef!
Bijou Cafe is a member of Nosh, SRQ Magazine's content marketing program for local restaurants.
Photo by Wyatt Kostygan.
The Bijou Cafe, 1287 First St., Sarasota, 941-366-8111