Cooking in Clay: Gratin dishes

“There are as many ‘authentic’ versions of gratin dauphinois as there are of bouillabaisse.”
— Julia Child

Überbackenes Kassler

An au gratined Kassler. By kaʁstn Disk/Cat via Wikimedia Commons

I have four gratin dishes, two different sets and I find them useful because of their size. Shallow and elongated, they allow food to cook and brown evenly. Usually, cheese or bread crumbs and butter are part of traditional recipes and the dish is placed under a broiler in the final stages of cooking. While they all have the same oval shape, gratin dishes come in different sizes and are made of different clays, some heavier, some lighter. This set of Rachael Ray dishes have a light, modern look and I can imagine how pretty they’d look with fresh sliced tomatoes peeking through the browned bread crumbs and cheese. Gratin cookware can be fancy, delicate, or designed for heavy use. It also tends toward cheerful colors and the most gloomy day can be pepped up by using them. Besides, what’s more homey and inviting than the crackle and pop, the mouth-watering aroma, and the rustic appeal of a dish cooked au gratin?

Barking Spider Pottery’s Rust Au Gratin Dishes

The stoneware dishes at the right, made by Barking Spider Pottery in North Carolina, are quite lovely and look like they would hold heat well and be a long-lasting addition to your kitchen. I wouldn’t mind having a set of these myself!  Many companies carry mass-produced gratin dishes, including Le Creuset and French Home. As far as recipes, here are 19 from Emeril’s site, which are bound to please! What follows is a YouTube video of Jacques Pépin demonstrating how to make Gratin of Tomato and Bread. Julia Child was prone to teasing Pépin and would often irk him on camera. That won’t happen in this video, as the master chef will be making the dish with his daughter, the lovely Claudine Pépin.


Filed under Articles and Interviews, Home and Garden, How-to-do-it, Videos/Photos/Slides

6 Responses to Cooking in Clay: Gratin dishes

  1. Pauline

    This is a wonderful article Jan, thx

  2. I learned alot from your blogpost on gratin cookware. Until today, I wasn’t aware there was special dishes to cook these recipes in. Thank you for the education. Well written article!
    I am looking forward to my next cheesy meal; good comfort food.

  3. Interesting! It never occurred to me to cook in clay. I’ll definitely have to give that some more thought!

    • Jan

      Thank you, Lisa! Clay cookware is wonderful because it heats so evenly and retains the heat. Thank you for your interest! — Jan

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