Seasonal Flavors: Scalloped Potatoes

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Photo: Denise Zito

While I love scalloped potatoes, for years I never made a successful batch and ultimately gave up the fight. It almost didn’t matter how long I cooked them—the potatoes were underdone, or the sauce was dried up. And then there was the slicing.  So hard to slice those potatoes thin enough! Couldn’t do it. 

Then I discovered the mandolin. I’ve had a mandolin for years—the five-stringed, beautiful little musical instrument. My son is a virtuoso, and I a struggling amateur.

But I finally acquired a kitchen mandolin, an adjustable device for slicing cucumbers, carrots, radishes, and potatoes. Now, with this handy device, I can easily create very thin slices that make perfect scalloped potatoes. Also, making pickles this summer was a snap. Spring salad? It took only a few seconds to thin slice the carrots and radishes.

It’s also inexpensive and dishwasher safe.

But do I need to caution you on the safety aspects? A mandolin always includes a vegetable holder, and I strongly urge you to use it.  And I’d rather not describe the potential consequences if you don’t.  You get the picture.

Scalloped Potatoes

  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 2 T flour
  • 4 T butter
  • 3 cups cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Scrub the potatoes, leaving the skins on, and slice them about 1/8 inch thick. Butter the bottom of a 9 x 12-inch baking dish and add one layer of potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dot with butter, sprinkle the potatoes with a small amount of flour. Repeat the process until all potatoes are used. Add the cream. Cover with foil that has been brushed with butter and bake at 350°F for an hour. Use a knife to check the potatoes. If it slides in easily, it’s done. If not, recover the dish and bake for another 30 minutes. You can also remove the foil for the last ten minutes or so to brown the top.  

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