I've been cooking scalloped potatoes since before the Internet, back in the days when most recipes came from family or friends, cookbooks and magazines. Back in those days Joy of Cooking was my favorite cookbook and many of my early recipes and ideas came from that cooking classic. Over the years my version has evolved into something a little bit the same but also a little bit different.
My recipe differs from Joy of Cooking as follows: I've increased the amount of onions and they are now thinly sliced instead of chopped. The cookbook says to parboil the potato slices for 5 minutes before layering them in the casserole dish but I've found that step is simply unnecessary. I've also abandoned the initial cooking period with the casserole covered with foil—but I'll include instructions so you can choose which way to cook it.
I prefer to leave the skins on the potatoes. The skins are where much of the flavor and vitamins are located, and I like the rustic appearance they give the finished dish. Instead of 6 tablespoons of diced onions suggested by the original recipe I've increased the amount of onions and they should be thinly sliced just like the potatoes, to about 1/8 inch thickness, using a mandoline (food slicer) or by careful use of a large chef knife. Do not slice your potatoes until you're ready to assemble the casserole to avoid the browning caused by oxidization. This recipe works best when the the amount of potatoes are about double the amount of onions, or just slightly more than double.
I strongly prefer Gruyere cheese or a mixture of about half Gruyere and half Parmesan, but Cheddar cheese lovers may use Cheddar or a mix of any or all of these cheeses. Whatever you use, it should be freshly grated! If you're a cheese lover then feel free to increase the amount of cheese, or it can be omitted for those who don't like it. Let's begin!
3 lb. Russet potatoes (about 3 really large Russets)
1 to 1-1/2 lb. yellow onions (1 very large onion or 2 medium onions)
1 C. freshly grated Gruyere, Parmesan or Cheddar cheese (or a mixture)
1/2 C. fresh parsley, chopped
1 C. milk
1 C. cream (or half-and-half)
salt and pepper (to taste)
about 4 T. butter (margarine may be substituted)
vegetable oil (either Olive or Canola will work well)
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Grease a casserole dish with some vegetable oil, vegetable oil spray, or a thin layer of butter may be used.
3. Lay down a layer of about one-third of the potato slices in the casserole dish, followed with a layer of one-third of the onion slices. Salt and pepper to taste, then sprinkle on top about one-third of the chopped parsley followed by one-third of the grated cheese mixture.
4. Repeat the step above with another third of the ingredients, then follow in the same manner with the remaining third. If your casserole dish is taller than wide you can accomplish the same with four layers of one-quarter of the ingredients each—to keep the thickness of the individual layers from being too thick.
5. Divide the butter and dot the top of the casserole with the butter pieces. Pour over the casserole equal amounts of milk and cream until the level of the liquid until it barely reaches the level of the top layer. You may add additional milk (or cream) if necessary.
6. Place casserole in a preheated 350° oven and bake for 45 minutes. The cookbook suggests that the casserole should be covered with aluminum foil but I've found that is unnecessary, and baking it uncovered results in a nicer golden browning on top.
7. Check the casserole at this point, uncovering the top if you used the aluminum foil, and continue cooking for another 15-30 minutes until the potatoes are tender, most of the liquid has been absorbed, and the top is chewy and crispy and has a nice golden brown color.
Makes about 6 servings.
Credit: Inspired by Rombauer & Becker's Joy of Cooking classic cookbook, but revised to suit my own tastes and preferences.
Filed under Side Dishes Tagged best, American