One of the most under-rated potato dishes has got to be scalloped potatoes. This tasty potato dish is my second ranked favorite potato dish, right behind mashed (whipped) potatoes. However, they are not a dish that I get to enjoy too often because I think the only person that has ever made them for me has been my mother. I mean not that I am not capable of making them, it is just that as a single guy living on my own it does not make sense for me to take the time to prepare a dish like this for just myself to enjoy. I, like most people, have fallen under the idea that scalloped potatoes are not that easy to make as both their name sake and the look of them make scalloped potatoes sound like they are extremely difficult to master. The truth is they may be a little more time consuming to make than most potato dishes such as say a “baked potato”. However, the time and dedication will be worth while when you taste them.
Scalloped potatoes are actually a casserole dish which contains thin slices of potatoes, milk or cream, and cheese. Sometimes the dish is also prepared with breadcrumbs and/or mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, and/or mushroom soup. The “scalloped potatoes” involve layering thin potato slices, which are sometimes separated by cheese or butter. Once the layering process is complete then milk, cream, soup or a combination of these is added to the dish. From here the entire dish can be topped off with cheese, breadcrumbs, mushrooms, or whatever you see fit as an inventive chef. Most cooks prefer to boil their potatoes for around five minutes before slicing them and adding them to the casserole dish. However, the scalloped potato dish can also be prepared with sliced raw potatoes if you choose. Your standard baking potatoes work very well for this dish and when it comes to the actual cooking of scalloped potatoes, they are usually baked at 350 degrees F for a half an hour in the oven. Depending on the number of people you are planning to serve by the size of your dish the baking time may vary. You do want to cook these potatoes well, however, be careful to not over cook them as they will end up mushy.
The namesake of this dish often confuses people because quite often when you hear scalloped it makes you think of scallops. However, scalloped potatoes have nothing to do with this shellfish. It is thought that perhaps the Old English word, “collops” which meant to slice meat thinly might have been used to describe the dish after potatoes were once cut into “collops” by the cooks of Yorkshire, England.
The origin of the first scalloped potato dish is thought to be from England or the Americas but its origin is not known for sure. One thing that is for sure is the fact that this dish often finds itself being presented at traditional holiday meals. The fact that they can be prepared prior to the holiday and then simply baked when necessary, lessening the prep time on the actual holiday itself, makes them an appealing addition to any family gathering or meal time. So if you have never made them give them a shot, you will soon see how much they high light your dinner. And you will quickly realize how they were not that big of a hassle to make. Enjoy.