It isn’t news that I love potatoes cooked almost any way possible. I like them baked, pan-fried, mashed, hash-browned, French-fried, chips, cubed & roasted, or mixed with cheese and baked.
Yesterday, I made another favorite potato dish to go with my Easter ham: It’s a scalloped potato casserole. Or, kind of. I’ve I’ve been throwing this one together since watching my cousins make it 20-some years ago. I’ve never had a written recipe for it. But, the family loves it, so I’ll try to describe it here for posterity. Or something.
In Googling “scalloped potatoes”, I realize my recipe is not cheesy or creamy like most of the ones I saw. Neither is it an au gratin casserole. In mine, I don’t make a creamy sauce, but just some layers. And, cheese is optional. So, what I make doesn’t seem to be a traditional scalloped potato casserole. Then, I searched for “scalloped potatoes without sauce” and found this version that’s pretty close to mine. So I guess I’m not totally crazy. (At least not when it comes to preparing sliced potato side dishes.)
4-6 medium potatoes – about enough to make 4-5 cups sliced. Use a white potato, russet, or even a Yukon gold, or red-skinned potatoes. As long as it has a thin skin (a good quality in a potato, but not in a person).
One medium onion. Use white or yellow. Or, shallots also work well.
About half a cup of flour and a sifter or strainer for sprinkling
One stick of butter, melted (1/2 cup)
Salt and finely-ground pepper
Milk – approx. 1/2 to 3/4 cup. Whole, please. Or half & half or cream.
Optional – grated Parmesan or other hard Italian cheese
Here’s how to do it:
You’ll need 9×13 casserole dish (or something smaller in size but deeper). Spray the bottom and sides good with cooking oil spray. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Scrub the potatoes well with a brush, and dry them. You don’t have to peel them if the skins are thin. If you use a russet baking potato with a thicker skin, peel them. Otherwise, check the skins for any dark spots or other blemishes, and cut those off. Then cut them the “short” way into thin, roundish slices. You don’t want the slices to be too thick, or the casserole will take too long to cook. I use the slicer on a mandoline-type box grater, or my food processor’s slicing blade, to make quick work of this part.
Finely mince the onion or shallots.
Melt the butter and keep warm.
Place the flour in a sifter, or pour it into a wire mesh strainer that’s in a bowl to catch what falls through.
Now, make layers: A single layer of potato slices, sprinkle a handful of onions, then a little salt & pepper (or season every other layer if you’re concerned about over-seasoning), then use the sifter or strainer to coat the layer with a fine, light dusting of flour. Then, drizzle about 1/4 of the melted butter over the top.
Repeat this process 3 more times so you have 4 layers of potatoes with all the good stuff in between, drizzled with butter on top.
Optional – shake some grated Parmesan cheese between one or two of the layers – or at least, make it the last thing you sprinkle on top. Some coarsely shredded Asiago on the top would be good, too.
Next, pour the milk over the whole thing, so that you can see it come about halfway up the side of the layers. Not too much, but it has to be enough to moisten the flour on the layers.
(Note: In the recipe I linked to above, they don’t melt the butter but they do warm the milk.)
Put it in a preheated, 350 degree oven. It’ll take about an hour to cook till the potatoes are soft – check this by sticking a fork into the layers in several spots. Again, if the potato slices are too thick, it will take longer to cook.
When you pull it out to serve, consider garnishing with some finely-chopped fresh parsley or chives. Because a pop of green is always a nice touch.
Alas, I failed (again) to take photos… but I don’t care for recipe blog posts that have too many photos anyway. I realize I make assumptions that you can picture it for yourself. If anything isn’t clear, feel free to leave questions in the comments!