My technique for scalloped potatoes comes from a young chef I once worked with when I first moved to Montreal. The fact that he proposed marriage to me every second Saturday never lessened my admiration for his skill in the kitchen, and I learned a lot during the time we were together.
We were both transplanted, he from Lyon, France, and I from Canada’s West Coast. Trapped together in a small, hot kitchen six nights a week, we talked of family back home, the peculiarities of Quebec, and, of course, food. He would prepare the sauces and trim the meats for the evening service, and I would make the desserts and accompaniments to the entrees. Like these Pomme de Terre Dauphinois, or scalloped potatoes.
My chef-friend showed me how to layer thinly sliced potatoes in a shallow baking dish and cover them with cream for the simplest – yet delicately rich and lovely – side dish. The only seasoning on the potatoes was salt and pepper; hence, they went with nearly every dish on the menu.
Scalloped potatoes are a lovely side dish to the Sunday roast beef or just served up weeknights as an accompaniment to a platter of grilled sausages or salmon filets. They re-heat beautifully, thanks to all that cream keeping them moist, and are one of my favorite side dishes to serve when entertaining for dinner.
I won’t deny it, these potatoes are rich, but their creaminess and ease of preparation more than make up for the calorie count.
Try them plain – just three ingredients: potatoes, cream and salt – then have a little more fun and dress them up with chopped fresh herbs, thinly sliced shallots, or crumbled bacon. You can also go wild with cheese toppings; Parmesan is the most classic, while a strong blue cheese crumbled over the top is a little bolder.
However you prepare these simple scalloped potatoes, you’ll find that once you’ve made the recipe through the first time, you won’t ever have need of it again. It’s easy enough to remember the method off the top of your head; voila, another recipe in your repertoire.
|Simplest Scalloped Potatoes|| || |
- 2 pounds yellow-fleshed potatoes, scrubbed, skins on
- 1 1/2 cups 35% cooking cream or whipping cream
- salt and pepper
- (optional) fresh herbs
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Grease a 9-inch oval or 9x9 baking dish.
- Thinly slice potatoes using a mandoline or a food processor with the blade attachment.
- Arrange a layer of potatoes on the bottom of the pan (about 1/3 of the sliced potatoes).
- Pour about 1/2 cup of cream over them and season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Arrange another layer of potatoes, top with 1/2 cup more cream and season. Repeat with final layer of potatoes and top with remaining cream.
- Bake for about 50 minutes, until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork and top is lightly browned. Serve hot.
- For additional flavor, layer chopped herbs or garlic between the layers of potato.
- Do Ahead Directions: Prepare and bake potatoes as directed above. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for up to two days. Before serving, bring to room temperature, then reheat gently in the oven at 325F.