Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Scalloped Potatoes with Garlic and Goat Cheese

I just kind of assume it's the French who had the culinary genius to bake ultra-thin layers of potato in cream. I mean, just look at that photo. Magnifique, n'est pas? It's a work of art!

Three kitchen utensils make this recipe a breeze to prepare: first and foremost is a mandolin. No kitchen should be without one. Next is a scale. How many times have you told yourself you were going to get one? You need two pounds of spuds. And last, but not least, a garlic press. Or a micro-plane. Okay, that's four.

A mandolin makes easy work of slicing potatoes. Always guard your fingers
and never look up while slicing. Keep your eyes on the task at hand.

Use large starchy Idaho potatoes, not red or yellow waxy ones. Use a good goat cheese. People who don't like goat cheese will love these potatoes. Trust me. This is Bon Appetit recipe. I used a flavored goat cheese instead of plain it called for and changed the process of preparing a bit.

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 5-oz. log garlic and herbs goat cheese, softened
  • 1 large garlic clove, pressed or finely minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons regular table salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon regular black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (do not omit)
  • 2 pounds starchy potatoes, such as Idaho or Yukon Gold

Preheat oven to 400 F. Butter or spray a glass baking dish 11 x 7 x 2, which I prefer. But mine was out of commission at the time so I used an 8 x 8 which also worked.

Measure your milk and cream into a glass measuring cup and microwave until warm (not hot). Add your softened goat cheese and with the tines of a fork begin working it into the cream mixture so it dissolves. Add the garlic, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Taste and re-adjust seasonings, if necessary. Set aside.

Scrub and peel your potatoes. I don't peel, I just use a metal scrubbie to wash them well which removes some of the skin. Slice 1/8-inch thin. Save the largest slices to place on top of dish.

Place 1/3 of the potatoes on bottom of dish, overlapping slightly but neatly in rows. Whisk cream mixture and pour 1/3 on top. Continue layering and adding cream mixture 2 more times. I use the smaller pieces to place around the perimeter of the dish.

Bake uncovered for 1 hour and 10-15 minutes. Allow to rest a bit before serving.