LOADED ESCALLOPED POTATOES
Dr. Gerald Keep, Annoyed Scientist, 12/3/2019
This was my favorite as a kid.
If you’re going to go to the trouble to ‘scallop (the E is silent) potatoes, you need to go whole hog and add onions, ham and cheese. The ratios of potato, milk, and flour are out of recipe books, so fixed. The rest adjust to taste.
Pre-heat the oven to 375.
Get out your largest low flat pan (9×12 or larger) and smear the insides with butter. You’ll also need to set aside 2 tablespoons of extra of butter, diced into tiny chunks.
Peel 5-6 potatoes, removing eyes etc., and slice them into as thin a disks as you can without taking off your fingertips.
Ready 3 tablespoons flour and 1 teaspoon salt. You can pre-mix these if you care, or you can just use a tablespoon of flour and a shake of salt three times.
You’ll need 1½ cup of milk. They say scalded, but I never could figure out why, since you’re baking it, so I don’t do it. They also say you can start with evaporated milk and cut it with 50% addition of water (but who has evaporated milk around and not fresh?) Suit yourself.
Also dice an onion and about the same volume of ham. If you actually buy your cheese in blocks, you’ll want to pre-grate it.
Now, in the casserole, you’re going to make layers in the following order – THREE SETS OF LAYERS, in this order.
- Flour & salt
- Ham & onion
- A little bit of cheese
- Repeat all
- Repeat all again. Except the repeating of the repeat. Steps 1-4 three times, that’s it.
Then, you pour the milk over the whole thing, and scatter the tiny chunks of butter evenly. Well, it’s going to melt and go everywhere anyway, and may not even be necessary if there is a lot of oil in the cheese, which was not in the original recipe. But what the heck. Pretend you’re Julia Child and embrace the butter. Not literally.
Top with a generous layer of cheese.
Put foil over the top and cook for 45 minutes, then uncover and go another 15-30.
This is about when you wish I had warned you to put a cookie sheet underneath if it’s pretty full. This can drip and make smoke on the burners if the pan is too full. Sorry.
It’s done when the potatoes are soft and the cheese is just browning.
Yum! Almost doesn’t need an entrée, if you used enough ham.