I love my mandolin; it makes the simplest things look incredibly fancy. Truth be told, I rarely have the time to spare to slice ingredients into paper-thin segments, especially when I have a handy tool that can do that for me. Suddenly something that took you about seven minutes to throw together makes you appear to be a culinary genius.
Perhaps genius is a bit of an exaggeration, but I swear if you set down this dish of perfectly identical little potato slices bubbling away in a creamy, smoky, cheesy sauce in front of your guests, you will be a star.
Side dishes like this are perfect for weeknight dinners. The prep work is very minimal, consisting of slicing a few potatoes and grating some cheese while the cream mixture heats on the stove. While layering the potatoes with the cheese, I toss in the first few layers willy-nilly, only bothering to make the top layer presentable since that is the only one you will see.
While I was making this, I thought to myself: “I should warn people to be careful with the mandolin, since if you get caught daydreaming the blade can slice your finger….” No sooner had the thought formed in my head than I (of course) sliced my own finger open. Dear reader, operate your mandolin with the utmost caution and care!
You can vary the type and quantity of cheese – it never hurts to add more cheese – and the spice combinations. I chose a smoky chipotle chili powder to go with a leftover hunk of jalapeño Gouda. The result was delightfully spicy, but if spice isn’t your thing you can use regular Gouda, or any leftover cheese you’ve got laying around. Make sure you leave enough cheese for the top layer; the cheesy top crust is the best part. Enjoy!
- 2½ cups whole milk or cream (or a combination)
- 1 lb. potatoes, sliced into ⅛" slices
- ½ cup grated jalapeño gouda
- ¼ cup fresh grated parmesan
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Put the cream or milk into a pot and heat until it's hot, but not boiling.
- Meanwhile, layer the potatoes and cheese in an overproof dish: start with a layer of potatoes, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and ⅓ of the chipotle chili powder, then top with ⅓ of the jalapeño gouda. Repeat twice more, making the top layer of potatoes pretty if you like. Top the final gouda layer with the parmesan.
- Pour the hot cream/milk over the potatoes, filling the dish to about ¾ full (the amount may vary based upon the dish you use).
- Bake until potatoes are tender and cheese is bubbly and brown, about 45 minutes. The potatoes should be easy to pierce with a sharp knife. Serve immediately, and try to get as much of the crusty cheesy top for yourself as you can.