Scalloped potatoes are delicious and easy to make. In fact, once you have made scalloped potatoes once or twice you can change the recipe to use your favorite cheese.
Unified Potato Theory
In French cooking, when you cook potatoes or anything that can be sliced thinly with cheese and cream, it is called an au gratin. Whether you call your potato masterpiece an au gratin or scalloped potatoes, you are going to end up with a creamy, cheesy, casserole of layered potatoes. Because of the way the potatoes are cooked, they end up with a wonderfully rich texture since the potatoes soak up the moisture and fat from the cream and the cheese, permeating the potato slices with flavor.
You can use any potato that you like to make your scalloped potatoes. I usually like to use waxy or new potatoes because I feel that they hold together better and have a better texture, but this is not to say that mealy or russet potatoes can't be used. In fact, I think that whatever recipe for scalloped potatoes you are using it should read "grab a bunch of whatever potatoes you happen to have on-hand."
Every chef I have talked to about potatoes (and yes, chefs do spend quite a bit of time talking about potatoes) has their own theory about which potatoes work best in an au gratin and, truth be told, each theory has its merits. But what I would like to do here is offer a unified potato theory.
Are rather firm little spuds that like to keep their shape and firmness when cooked. For this reason, we love to use them for home fries, boiled potatoes (like those served with corned beef), and any dish that needs the potato to keep its shape in the face of high heat.
Tend to become somewhat mushy when confronted with heat. We love this trait because it is what gives us those delightfully tender baked potatoes and wonderfully fluffy mashed potatoes. There is a reason that mashed potatoes are the pinnacle of comfort food and the fact that a good mashed potato can support roasted garlic, cheese, extra butter, chives, green onions, shallots, bacon, red peppercorns, roasted pepper, and anything else that tickles your fancy without becoming just potato lumps is the reason. Mealy potatoes are the base of my mashed potato pie and the topping for shepherd's pie.
Unified Potato Theory:
While each type of potato has its own use and purpose, it is the scalloped potato recipe that brings them together. If you have fingerlings, new potatoes, or russets, or all blues, buttes, carola, elba, onaway, yukon gold or Swedish peanut, you can use them in this recipe.
- 2 pounds of potatoes
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
- 1 ½ cup of cream
- ½ cup of Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup of Romano cheese
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ teaspoon of dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- Peel the potatoes and slice them into 1/8-inch slices.
- Butter a 9x9 oven safe baking dish.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Place the cream and herbs into a saucepan and warm over a medium heat.
- Place one layer of overlapping potato slices in the bottom of the dish.
- Sprinkle some garlic slices, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese over the potatoes.
- Pour a bit of the warmed cream over the potatoes.
- Repeat this process until all of the potato slices have been used.
- Be sure to keep some of the cream for topping off the last layer of potatoes.
- Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.
- Sprinkle the top of your scalloped potatoes with the Romano cheese and bake for 5 more minutes or until the top is lightly browned.
- You can add or substitute your favorite cheese. For example, adding shredded cheddar to the Parmesan is a nice flavor combination and I have used blue cheese from time to time.