Potatoes remain a satisfying staple in many people’s meals, and scalloping this popular veggie is a decadent and delicious way to serve it. If you've never sliced potatoes scallop-style or whisked hot cream, you may think that this dish is best left to master chefs. However, scalloped potatoes actually require just a handful of ingredients and is quite very simple to make.
Selecting the right type of potato will ensure your scallops have the perfect creamy texture. Potatoes with a naturally buttery flavor work best with this dish. Yukon Gold potatoes hold their shape well, which keeps them from leaking starch into your sauce and Russet potatoes have a high starch content and will help thicken your sauce.
Select three pounds of potatoes. Make sure your potatoes are firm and healthy. Moisture, bruising or roots indicate that your potatoes are over-ripened and should be discarded. Wash your healthy potatoes thoroughly, then dry and peel them. Use a sharp chef’s knife or mandoline slicer to cut the potatoes into 1/8 inch thick slices. Try to slice the cuts as uniformly as possible to ensure they cook evenly.
Melt three tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Take care not to overcook the butter since that can give your cream a bitter taste. Add two tablespoons of all-purpose flour to the pan by gradually whisking it into the butter. Once it becomes a thick paste, pour three cups of whole milk into the pan at a slow drizzle while whisking to blend it into the cream.
Add a half-teaspoon of pepper and a teaspoon of sea salt into the cream for a little extra flavor. For stronger seasoning, opt for half-teaspoons of richer spices such as nutmeg, garlic or thyme. Sprinkle in your spices and continue to whisk the cream for three-to-five minutes or until the mixture is thick and smooth. Remove the pan from heat.
To add savory flavor to your scallops, select a healthy, medium-sized yellow onion and slice it thinly. Pour one tablespoon of olive oil into a pan. Heat the oil and onion slices in the pan over medium heat until the slices are brown and soft. Remove the pan from the heat.
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees f. Spray the bottom of a three-quart baking pan or casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray, then add one-quarter of your sliced potatoes in an even layer. Spoon one-third of your caramelized onion evenly over your first potato layer. Add one more quarter-layer of potatoes and another third of your onion. Then, evenly add the remaining potatoes and top with the remaining onion to make the final layer.
Pour the heated cream over your potato layers. Fill the casserole dish or pan so that the cream level is even with the last layer of potatoes. Shake the dish to ensure the cream is evenly distributed. Then, cover the pan with foil to seal in the steam, which will help your scalloped potato mixture cook more evenly.
Place your dish in the oven and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. Then, remove the foil and cook uncovered for fifteen to twenty minutes to allow the potatoes to brown. Pierce a potato slice with a fork. If the fork pokes easily through the slice, the potatoes are sufficiently tender.
Remove the scalloped potatoes from the oven and let them cool for five to ten minutes to allow the cream to solidify. Serving the potatoes immediately can result in gloppy potatoes instead of creamy scallops. Lower a spoon into the cream to ensure it has the proper thickness. If the back of your spoon remains coated with cream after removal, your dish has the perfect creamy texture.
Sprinkle on parsley, add on a little more salt and pepper, or even toss in a touch of garlic powder for an added pop of flavor. Red paprika offers a peppery taste and a strong splash of color to top your golden-brown scallops. After adding your toppings of choice, use a spatula to serve up this tasty dish and enjoy!
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