by Eric Wharton
My Recipe Book, constantly being added to
People have been cooking and eating for thousands of years, so if you are the very first to have thought of adding fresh lime juice to scalloped potatoes try to understand that there must be a reason for this.
— Fran Lebowitz, Metropolitan Life, 1978
On the other hand, you never know until you try.
The term scalloped has multiple meanings in cooking, but in this case does not have anything to do with the shellfish. It probably derives form an Old English word, collop, which had nothing to do with potatoes. Instead, it was sliced meats prepared with cheese and cream. Since scalloped potatoes are most often prepared with cheese, cream, or milk, that's the likely origin of the name.
Scalloped potatoes can be prepared many ways, the most famous are Queen Anne Potatoes, thinly sliced potatoes arranged in a circular pattern in delicate, crispy layers alternating with butter, parmesan cheese, and garlic. Queen Anne reportedly loved these potatoes so much that she insisted on them at every meal. In this Pennsylvania Dutch variety, a thick Béchamel sauce is used without cheese. However, grated cheese can be added, if desired.
4 medium potatoes, peeled
1 medium onion, thinly sliced rings
Béchamel sauce (white sauce):
4 cups milk
8 tbsp butter
8 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Slice potatoes and onions about 1/8-inch thick—they can be slightly thicker but certainly not as much as 1/4-inch. Layer sliced potatoes in a casserole dish, with alternating layers of sliced onion ring pieces.
Make Béchamel sauce and while still hot, pour over potatoes and onions in a casserole dish. If there are too many potato slices, remove them. It's important that all potatoes be covered by the sauce.
Bake at 375°F for 11/2 hours until potatoes are tender and delicate brown. Serves 2-4
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