Scalloped potatoes are related to the French dish gratin Dauphinois. Both combine potatoes, cheese, and cream or milk. These scalloped potatoes, layered with Gruyere, are closer to the French version. Since they require no last-minute work, they’re ideal for your feast. Thinly slice the potatoes on a hand-held slicer or with a chef’s knife, simmer them in milk, then layer with cheese in a baking dish. The recipe can accommodate some variation: Use a waxy potato such as Yukon Gold instead of starchy Russets, or replace some of the milk with half-and-half or cream.
|1||clove garlic, halved|
|Butter (for the dish)|
|3||cups whole milk|
|1||teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves|
|3½||pounds Russet potatoes|
|6||ounces Gruyere or Emmental cheese (about 2 cups), coarsely grated|
|Salt and pepper, to taste|
1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Rub the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with the cut garlic halves. Discard the garlic. Butter the dish.
2. In a saucepan large enough to hold the potatoes, combine the milk, salt, and thyme. Set over very low heat to warm.
3. Peel the potatoes. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, cut them into ⅛-inch thick slices, dropping them into the warm milk as you go. Increase heat to medium, cover, and cook at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking on the bottom, for about 5 minutes or until the potatoes are almost tender. The potatoes may break up a little as you stir them; that’s OK. The milk will scorch on the bottom of the pan; that’s hard to avoid.
4. With a slotted spoon, transfer half the potatoes to the baking dish in an even layer. Top with 1 cup of cheese, salt, and pepper. Add remaining potatoes, salt, and pepper. Carefully pour the hot milk over the potatoes and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and potatoes are tender when pierced with a skewer. Rest 10 minutes before serving. Jill GibsonJill Gibson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.