I like to think of scalloped potatoes as the poor cousin of potatoes gratin and potatoes dauphinoise. For this dish, potato is sliced much thicker, and unlike gratin (which usually has cheese) and dauphinoise (which usually has cream), scalloped potatoes are thickened with flour and milk and just a wee bit of butter. As a result, the dish is a bit more rustic and humble, but also a bit easier on the waistline (and of course every bit as delicious).
Every time I make this dish I’m surprised at just how delicious a few simple ingredients can be when they come together. Each ingredient helps accentuate the flavor of the potatoes. After the potatoes themselves, I think garlic is the next most integral part of this dish; you can taste the garlic, but the potatoes don’t taste garlicy, per se…they just taste like really fantastically delicious potatoes.
A Note on the Milk: I use whole milk in this recipe to prevent or at least minimize curdling (the higher fat content of whole milk reduces the likelihood of the milk curdling when cooked…of course cream would work even better than whole milk, but that’s for another recipe ;) ). It’s for this reason that I don’t recommend using reduced-fat milk in this recipe.
(Yield: About 6 servings)
1 TB olive oil
1 small-medium onion, finely diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
4 medium starchy potatoes (about 1 1/2 to 2 lbs total or 4 c sliced)
3 TB all-purpose flour
1 TB cold butter, plus more to grease the pan
Salt and pepper
About 1 1/2 c whole milk
Preheat oven to 375F, and grease a 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish with butter. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-low heat; add oil and sauté onion and garlic until softened but not brown (about 8-10 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Peel potatoes and slice into 1/4-inch thick rounds; cut the 1 TB cold butter into very small pieces. On the bottom of the prepared dish, arrange 1/4 of the potato slices, then top with 1/3 of the onion mix, 1 TB flour, a few pieces of butter, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Repeat this process 2 times, then top with the final 1/4 of the potato slices, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and a few pieces of butter. Carefully pour the milk into dish, making sure not to disturb the potato layers (the milk should come to just under the top layer of potatoes so you might need more or less to achieve this).
Bake (uncovered) 60 minutes or until potatoes are fully cooked (to test them, poke a sharp knife into the center of the casserole; if it slides right out, the potatoes are done). Let the potatoes sit about 15 minutes to thicken before serving.