This is my last post in my week long series featuring Idaho Potatoes. All kinds of them in recipes that are perfect as Thanksgiving side dishes. This is the 7th recipe. So I need it to be special. I thought and thought about it. The indecision sat heavy like a brick on my tongue. But then something happened. Something that helped me decide. There was an early season rainstorm. So suddenly the potato decision was made much easier. When it rains I want Scalloped Potatoes. This time with endive and mustard.
Rain can make me giddy. That’s how it is in Los Angeles. Which is technically a desert– a paved over and re-planted desert. But a desert nonetheless. So we still retain the desert-like predictability of very long dry spells. November usually marks the end of our very long dry spell.
In honor of the first rain of the season, I decided I needed to make something ‘warm and cozy’. Something my mother might make. It’s Thanksgiving after all. I still associate Thanksgiving with my mommy.
When someone says ‘warm and cozy’ when referring to a Thanksgiving side dish, I immediately think of potatoes au gratin. My mother would say scalloped, but she and I would be thinking the same thing.
I am going to a do a very straightforward version with potatoes, Comté cheese, and cream– but to shake things up a bit this Thanksgiving my potatoes will have mustard– two ways. A little grainy mustard in the cream sauce and some whole mustard seeds sprinkled over the top for a nutty burst of heat in the crusty bits. Yummy!
This gratin starts with sliced Klondike Goldust potatoes from Idaho Potatoes. They have a thin and tasty skin, plus I am going to slice them very thin. So I don’t think peeling the potatoes is absolutely necessary, but you can if you want to. My mother would…
I often mention here that I am a fan a multiple textures in foods. I like to explain techniques that help you achieve this.
However, in a scalloped potato gratin I want 2 textures and 2 textures only. These are creamy potato and crackly crust. To help assure all the potatoes cook at the same rate and maintain a consistently creamy texture I am going to recommend that you slice the potatoes at a very uniform thickness. About 1/8th of an inch thick. To keep the slices uniform, I suggest you use a mandoline. My mother would…
Simmer the potatoes in half milk and half water for a couple of minutes. You want to soften them somewhat, but not cook them all the way yet. Cooking the potatoes in milk adds a certain rich softness. I think it must tame the starch somewhat. Since the mustard makes this version feel Frenchified to me. I am going to blanch some Belgian endive leaves with the potatoes as well. Why not? It’s thanksgiving. I am generally very thankful for endive.
The cream sauce is made with cream and some of the milky water you cooked the potatoes and endive in– plus a good amount of a slightly grainy mustard sauce.
Line the potatoes and endive in a buttered 10″ x 7″ baking dish in three or four layers, adding a dusting of flour and a sprinkle of Comté cheese between each layer. Remember to save some of the cheese for the top. I told you I expect a crunchy crust and that comes from the cheese.
After the gratin is all assembled pour the mustard cream sauce over it until the liquid comes about halfway up the sides of the pan. Then add a healthy sprinkling of whole yellow mustard seeds. But I doubt my mother would…
Bake this guy for 50 to 60 minutes at 325 degrees. Put a tray underneath, because it could bubble over. Don’t you love that phrase bubble over? Ohhh, I am getting excited!
If it comes out of the oven without enough crunchy brown bits on the top you can stick it under a broiler for a few minutes. Watch it closely, and turn the pan often to assure a good, even, brown, crunchy crust. Everyone’s mother would do that!
That’s it! Serve it while it’s hot and bring on the rain!
“Just don’t track muddy footprints all over the house” (that was my mother speaking)… GREG
- 1/2 t unsalted butter
- 3 t whole mustard seeds
- 1 1/2 lb peeled (or not peeled) and thinly sliced idaho potatoes
- 3 clv garlic peeled
- 2 c whole milk
- 2 c water
- 1 large belgian endive, leaves separated individually
- 1 c heavy cream
- 1 T dijon mustard
- 1 t kosher salt
- 1 t white pepper
- 2 T all-purpose flour
- 6 oz comte cheese, coarsely grated
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 10″ x 7″ inch oval baking dish.
Using a mortar and pestle, grind 1 teaspoon of the mustard seeds into a very coarse powder. Set aside. In a saucepan, combine sliced potatoes, garlic, milk and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the liquid to a simmer. Add the endive leaves on top, making sure they are fully submerged. Cook about 5 minutes until the potatoes begin to soften and the endive is blanched. Drain the potatoes and endive, reserving 1/2 cup of liquid. Discard garlic cloves. Set potatoes aside.
Combine the reserved cooking liquid with the cream. Whisk in the Dijon mustard and the roughly ground mustard seeds. Season with salt and white pepper. Layer the potatoes and endive leaves in the baking dish, sprinkling some of the flour and cheese between each layer. Reserve 1/3 of the cheese for the top. Pour the mustard cream mixture over the potatoes until it comes a bit more than halfway up the side of the dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese and distribute the remaining 2 teaspoon whole mustard seeds evenly across the cheese.
Place the baking dish on a cookie sheet to catch anything that may bubble over. Bake at 325 degrees F about 1 hour until the potatoes are completely cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving.