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!