World Class Scalloped PotatoesOnce the base sauce is made, you can add any type of cheese. When preparing scalloped potatoes, I like using high-moisture spuds- they help add to the richness of the dish.
Prep time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
4-5 pounds redskin, or new potatoes sliced ¼ inch thick
4-5 cups béchamel sauce
½ cup butter
½ cup unbleached flour
5-6 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons pepper
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ cup of shredded cheese
Slice the potatoes into ¼ inch pieces and place the in a pot of boiling salted water- cook for 4 minutes. Drain the potatoes and set aside.
For the béchamel:
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low temperature until melted. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture turns a light, golden sandy color, about 4 to 5 minutes. This particular mixture is called a roux.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Add the hot milk to the butter/flour mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a soft boil. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly- remove the sauce from the heat- season with salt, pepper and nutmeg- set-aside until ready to use.
At this point, add 1 cup of grated cheese to the béchamel. You can use anything here- fontina, sharp cheddar, Brie, goat, jack, and Gouda, are just a few examples.
Once the cheese is placed in the warm béchamel sauce, let it sit for a few minutes so it can become soft. Whisk the mixture until the cheese is fully incorporated.
Place a ladle of sauce in the bottom of a greased ovenproof casserole dish. Add a layer of potatoes; cover with another ladle of the béchamel-cheese sauce. Continue this procedure until all of the potatoes, and most of the sauce has been used. Top with the remaining sauce- don’t over-fill or you will make a mess in your oven!
Top the potatoes with the ½ cup of remaining cheese. Bake at 375 degree for 45 minutes, or until the top becomes golden brown, and an inserted knife easily permeates the potatoes without resistance.
Chef Chuck Kerber