Some people like chocolate, so I hear. The sort of people who say “eat dessert first,” and mean it. The sort of people who really would rather have something sweet than almost anything else. I am not one of those people. I like potatoes. The saltier, the better, but chances are good that if it is made of potatoes, I will probably like it. Potato chips are one of the finest things life has to offer, in my opinion (and I am vindicated in my opinion by the Parsi food pyramid). I am also very fond of small yellow potatoes roasted until they are creamy inside and crusty outside. But I don’t complain about potatoes bathed in heavy cream, herbs and cheese. Nope.
Yes, I was on a low-carb diet at one time. No, it didn’t stick. For obvious reasons. And this is why I walk several miles a day. To avoid being potato-shaped as well as potato-obsessed. Anyway…
We made scalloped potatoes a few days ago, for a celebratory dinner at home. We pulled out two pretty beef tenderloin steaks, threw together a Caesar salad, and tried a new potato recipe out of America’s Test Kitchen, which was still open from making challah the previous evening. The whole dinner was wonderful, but these potatoes really clinched it for me.
When making scalloped potatoes, it’s a very handy thing to own a mandoline (we have this one). It lets you make perfect thin slices that will cook evenly in the cream, so you don’t end up with mush and crunky bits. Make sure you don’t add your fingertips to the recipe, though.
adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper
- 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, sliced 1/8″ thick
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup grated parmesan
Preheat the oven to 425°.
Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or other large heavy pan. Add the onions and saute until they soften. Add the thyme, garlic, salt and pepper, and stir briefly. Add the potatoes, broth, cream and bay leaves. Stir carefully (not wanting to break up the potatoes) and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for ten minutes, until the potatoes are just tender.
Pour the contents of the pan into a gratin pan or baking dish. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake 15-20 minutes, until bubbling and golden. Let rest ten minutes or so before digging in.