What is your best scalloped potato recipe?
I know they are so easy and basic but whenever I make scalloped potatoes they curdle. Is there a trick?
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Well first of all, I will eat them whether they are curdled or not! But I have found that going old school prevents curdling for company potatoes - meaning be sure to par cook your potatoes in milk on the stovetop before you add them to the baking dish. To get a perfectly creamy dauphinoise you need to cook the potatoes at a low temperature but if they're in the over too long they will curdle anyway so you give them a head start. Now I have skipped this step many a time and sometimes been lucky, sometimes not so lucky. But the par cooking thing always works - cook them for about a half hour over a medium flame.
My favorite is the French version which uses no dairy, except for butter and gruyere. It's from an old CI magazine. I can practically guarantee it won't curdle!!
3 pounds all-purpose potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick
1-1/4 cups grated Gruyere cheese (4 ozs)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into small pieces.
4 cups light chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth.
1. Preheat over to 375 degrees. Generously butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish (3 quart) In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with ½ cup Gruyere cheese and the flour.
2. Arrange the potatoes in three layers, seasoning generously with salt and pepper and sprinkling the remaining ¾ cup Gruyere and the bits of butter between each layer and on top. Pour the chicken stock over the top and bake for about 1-1/2 hours, until the potatoes are tender and golden brown on top.
re: sarah galvin
I think you were responding to my post, which mysteriously disappeared. I will include the recipe here again. This comes out so much better than you would think by the ingredients. It has a scalloped potato flavor, without the dairy. But it's very dependent on the quality of olive oil you use. I used a very dark green unfiltered oil from Spain and it was spectacularly good. The definite hit of a recent dinner party.
Ligurian Potato and Mushroom Gratin
4 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 ¼ lbs. Portobello mushrooms, gills scraped off, halved and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced (a mandolin is kind of essential)
¼ c. chopped flat leaf parsley
1 t. fresh thyme
½ t. chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat 2 T. oil in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more, until mushrooms are tender.
Mix the potatoes with the remaining oil and the herbs, and season with salt and pepper. Place a third of the potatoes in an oiled gratin dish or 8×8” square ceramic baking dish. Top with half of the mushrooms, removing them from the skillet with a slotted spoon. Repeat layers, ending in potatoes. Pour any liquid from the skillet on top. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes.
You can see the photo at http://whatwouldcathyeat.com/2010/04/...
It actually looks better in the photo than it did in real life - not sure how I accomplished that!
Just caught an old episode of Julia and Jacques on PBS last night; Julia made scalloped potatoes with milk and Jacques made his with broth. Julia's version: sliced potatoes into a gratin dish (no pre/par-boiling), mash up a couple minced garlic cloves with salt, pour milk over the potatoes, pour some cream over the potaotes (ratio 3 parts milk, i part cream), mix around a bit, add the garlic puree, mix around a bit and put the gratin on the stove to come to a boil. Dot the top with butter (to add richness, since there's mostly just milk and no other fat). Then bake in the oven til done. On television, Julia's gratin did have a bit of that curdled look. Perhaps that is always the result of baking with milk?
I don't think Ive ever seen a pan of gratin potatoes made with milk or half and half that did not appear even slightly curdled after baking. It seems like it's the nature of the beast, er, dish. The lower the fat content of the dairy used for the sauce, the more likely it is to curdle.
Baking the potatoes in stock, rather than milk or cream, like Phurstluv's recipe upthread, will not curdle. Using a flavorful thin white sauce, stablized with a roux, or using heavy cream instead of milk or half and half, may also solve your problem. I'd made them with heavy cream steeped with garlic and nutmeg and never had a curdling problem. If you use a mandoline, slicing the potatoes very thinly and layering them, you don't need to cook them first, as they will fall apart anyway. Just heat your heavy cream, season it very well, pour it over the layered potatoes and bake.