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© Paden Reich
When you get a craving for a rich, creamy, indulgent potato, say for a holiday family get-together or, in my case, a birthday or a book club gathering, this should be your first choice: scalloped potatoes. To slice the peeled potatoes, use a sharp knife if that’s your preference, or, if you’re like me, get out your mandoline and enjoy turning out perfectly round and thin cuts that can be laid flat and piled high in the baking dish. I get a kick watching this dish come together; each step is clearly defined, different, and yet essential. Now, I’m aware that a traditional scalloped potato does not include cheese, and that adding cheese to this recipe technically makes it a potato au gratin, but so what? I got this recipe from my mom, who called it Scalloped Potatoes, and out of respect for her, I’m going to continue this rich tradition of misinformation. When all is said and eaten, I think the only question you’ll be asked is the same one I get afterward: “When will you make this again?”
1. To get ahead, peel and cut the potatoes ahead of time but keep them in cold water so that they don’t brown.
2. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, cut the potatoes into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Toss together the potatoes, salt, and 3/4 cup of the cream in a large bowl.
3. Spread half of the potato mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish. Top evenly with 1 cup of the cheese, and shingle the remaining potato slices over the cheese. Pour the remaining 3/4 cup cream evenly over the potatoes and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
4. Uncover and bake until the potatoes are tender and the cheese is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Don’t have heavy cream on hand? Use half-and-half or even whole milk. Try Manchego instead of Gruyère cheese.
4 large russet potatoes (about 33/4 pounds), peeled
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese
Hands on time
2 Hours, 15 Minutes