Ideal Scalloped Potatoes
You’ve all made them or been offered them before – scalloped potatoes that are less than ideal. What I’m talking about are those scalloped potatoes that are clumpy, curdy, greasy and maybe even mealy – the potatoes are overcooked, the cheese has split, and the milk has curdled! Yuck!
These are not those potatoes.
The following recipe will deliver a glorious pan of perfectly cooked layers of potatoes, milk and cream that has been set with the starch from the potatoes (no flour!), cheese that is melted and browned on the top, and just the right amount of seasonings.
Onions and/or garlic are optional, but not required!
For me, these scalloped potatoes are the ideal accompaniment to a mustard rubbed, bone-in ham, the way my Mom always made. That smoky, mustard crusted ham is so good paired with the richness of these Comté-loaded potatoes. Steamed and buttered brussels sprouts would be the perfect vegetable for this plate. Of course, then there’s a nice grilled steak or prime rib of beef to consider, too….maybe with green beans and pickled beets. Who’s coming for dinner?....wishful thinking in the year 2020! 😉
Whether you’re dining alone or with your bubble, you deserve to make a pan of Ideal Scalloped Potatoes.
Ideal Scalloped Potatoes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
1 lb (4 medium) Yukon gold or similar starchy potatoes
250 ml full-fat milk (3.25%)
150 ml whipping cream (35%)
1 tsp kosher salt
8 gratings fresh nutmeg
3-4 grindings fresh black pepper
4 oz Comté cheese, rind removed and grated
Optional: ½ cup thinly sliced white onion and/or 1 whole clove fresh garlic
1. Preheat the oven to 120°C/250°F. Set aside a 20cm (8-inch) baking dish. Peel the potatoes and slice them 2 mm thick (1/16th of an inch). Do not rinse your potatoes – you need the starch to thicken the milk and cream.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk, cream, salt, nutmeg, and pepper to a simmer. Add the potato slices (and onion/garlic if using) and cook for 9-10 minutes, stirring gently to ensure the potatoes do not stick. Remove the pan from the heat and gently stir in most of the cheese, reserving a handful for the top of the dish.
3. Using a spatula, transfer the potato slices (and onion – discard the garlic clove!) to the baking dish, spreading them evenly in layers. Bake for 45 minutes. Add the remaining cheese to the top of the potatoes, and return to the oven for another 5 minutes to finish baking and warm the cheese. Test the doneness of the potatoes with the tip of a sharp knife – there should be no resistance to the layers, and the milk and cream should be thick but still a bit loose. If you bake this dish for longer, you run the risk of the cream, milk, and cheese getting too hot, at which point it will curdle and split!
4. Turn the oven on to broil, and broil the top of the dish for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese has gently browned. Remove the dish from the oven and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. This will allow the potatoes to set properly with the milk and cream, and will still be plenty warm for the meal. Alternatively, make the potatoes the day before and gently warm through in a 325°F oven for 20 minutes (longer if you have doubled the recipe!)