Kitchen Experiment posts are for the times that I don’t use a recipe and just improvise. I put down what I used, but the technique is more important due to the wide range of substitutions and variations available.
So for a while I’ve wanted to try my hand at a scalloped potato dish because I’ve only ever relied on the packaged style and been too much of a chicken to try it myself. I didn’t want to make one of those cheesy, saucy, fat-laden sides though. I wanted something with the same layered texture I love so much about scalloped potatoes, but with a bit more flavor and spice, and a prettier appearance.
Well, I made some mistakes, but I was able to troubleshoot them this time. This dish is tasty, lovely, and absolutely unique. It can be used as a side or as the main event, with a little dressing up. If you’re looking for something subtle to impress your guests, this is the ticket.
Kitchen Experiment #1: Layered Potatoes
Notes: You can make this ahead. Get past the baking portion and then cool in the fridge while weighing the foil down until you’re ready to cut the pieces out and warm.
Ingredients: (4 Servings plus “leftovers”)
- 1 large russet potato, sliced into discs with a mandolin. (1/8 inch-ish)
- 1 large sweet potato, sliced into discs with a mandolin.
- 3 red-skinned potatoes, sliced into discs with a mandolin.
- fresh thyme (or whatever herbs you like)
- olive oil
- fresh ground pepper & salt
Preheat your oven to 350F.
Get a baking dish that’s a square of about 9″x9″ and line the bottom with parchment paper. If you want to scale up, go for it. The potato amounts can be scaled up to layer as much as you want, as long as they fill the dish completely without gaps.
Start with the sweet potato and layer with overlapping the first level. Build on that with the red potato, and then the russet. Do another three layers, but this time make sure the russet is extra dense (make your overlapping more extreme). Season with herbs, pepper, and salt, and then a drizzle of olive oil. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
When the potatoes are done, vent the foil and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Then, press the foil down to the surface of the potatoes and set a heavy pot or panini weight on the top. You want to compress these layers so as they cool the starch helps “glue” them together.
If you’re planning on serving the same day, allow to compress for 30 minutes or until room temperature. Then, grab a corner of the parchment and slide the whole thing out onto a cutting board. Grab the corners quickly and flip over, so the sweet potatoes are now facing up.The sweet potatoes are the easiest to cut through with the cutter, so that’s why they’re up top. If you try it from the other side, it could disrupt the layers.
Use a pretty cookie cutter (preferably a circle) and sigh-measure where to place it to get the most out of your potatoes. I started with the upper corner. Press quickly through all the layers, and then give it a sharp smack with the palm of your hand to send it through the bottom layer. Cut away the excess carefully around the cutter (if it’s sticking) and transfer to a plate. Lift the cutter up carefully to reveal your tower. You can serve these at room temperature. If you want to warm them, place them on a lined cookie sheet and put them in the oven for a spell until warmed through.
Because they is a test recipe, I encourage you to get creative. There are a lot of very good possibilities with something like this, be it garnish, sauces, or even turning it into a sweet dish.