Rockport resident Stephanie Smith, a former caterer, has a special recipe for a true comfort food: her Four-Cheese Scalloped Potatoes.
These potatoes will satisfy your need for cheese as they are smothered in a sauce consisting of Swiss, cheddar, Parmesan, and cream cheese. She thinly slices the potatoes using a mandolin — no not the instrument — the kitchen tool that allows uniform cuts to ensure an even cooking time.
This recipe is a two-for-one, as “you can use the same sauce to make a macaroni and cheese,” Smith explains. A breeze to put together, the sauce takes all of five minutes to melt down and thicken. It begins with a simple roux of flour, butter and garlic. A roux is a thick base made up of one-part fat and one-part flour. You can use butter or oil. Simply heat milk, toss in the cheese, and stir it for five minutes.
These potatoes are a perfect side dish for a large steak, and the golden brown crispy cheese topping will look as good as it tastes.
Four-Cheese Scalloped Potatoes
3 to 5 potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons flour
21/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup Swiss cheese
8 ounces (one small container) garlic cream cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons parsley
1. Peel and wash the potatoes. Slice the potatoes uniformly, use either a mandolin or a knife.
2. In a medium-large pot, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Once melted, combine garlic and flour to create the roux. Mix these ingredients together well until a “paste” is developed.
3. Add the 21/2 cups of milk to the roux. Bring to a rapid boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low to simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Stir continuously to avoid burning the milk.
4. Add salt and pepper.
5. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
6. Begin to add the cheeses to milk mixture: 1 cup shredded cheddar, 1 cup shredded Swiss, and garlic cream cheese. Save the Parmesan for just before the dish goes in oven.
7. Mix the cheeses together until they are completely melted, and the mixture becomes a thick cheese sauce.
8. In a greased casserole dish, lay one layer of potatoes down. They do not need to be perfectly flat on the pan. Pour a layer of cheese sauce over the potatoes. Continue to alternate until the potatoes are all used. Make sure to have the top layer be the cheese sauce. This will become golden brown and crispy.
9. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top, and garnish with parsley.
10. Bake at 350ºF for 90 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.
Recipe courtesy of Stephanie Smith, Changing Tides Gifts in Gloucester, 2013.