The New York Times started a Page 3 that I start every day in New York with. It’s a treasure trove of factoids from articles in that day’s paper, a summary of what news mattered most the day before, a tiny little brainteaser of a crossword puzzle that gets my brain in gear and finally a little column that’s sometimes about mundane things like how to clean house or pack a suitcase or cook a recipe. We’ve been intrigued enough to bake bread and fascinated by this recipe for Scalloped Potatoes. Digging a little deeper, we knew we had to make it when we went to the original recipe and the first comment was this…
“Little tiny town…no cippolinis, used regular sweet yellow onion. No leeks, used green onions. No fresh tarragon, used fresh thyme and chives. Added good parmesan, couple handfuls, to the top. OH my gosh….if it was this good after I boogered the recipe up, what must it be like using the original and authentic? Thank you, sir, for a wonderful recipe…we will have it once a year, at Christmas, I think.” Jonna. She was apparently not alone in her review. The recipe had, at last count, 237 Five Star ratings. Well Christmas is coming, as is Thanksgiving and you could do a whole lot worse than making this up ahead of time, to step four and hauling it out and baking it right up to Turkey time. It would also be wonderful with a Standing Rib Roast if that’s your tradition as it is ours at Christmas. It also falls into the category of make-ahead recipes for either Holiday. In fact, it benefits from a few days in the fridge where it firms up and when re-heated it will slice into perfect wedges rather than slithering all over the plate.
The recipe was accompanied by this story in the Times. “This recipe comes from Cheryl Rogowski, whose family has been farming the rich black earth on their patch of Orange County, N.Y., for more than 50 years. They started growing Keuka Golds because the two best-known potatoes in the country — russets and Yukon Golds — did not grow well there. Keukas have yellow flesh, rich flavor and pale skin like Yukons, but they can handle the region’s drastic temperature swings, short growing season, divergent soils and uneven rainfall. For this dish, Yukons work equally well.”
Since Yukons grow right down the road from us in Bridgehampton, that’s what we used and the results were every bit as satisfying as Jonna’s were. And we followed the recipe to a Tee. What’s involved here is infusing heavy cream with three different onion flavors—from leeks, garlic and Cipollini onions all minced in the Cuisinart. Into the cream went potatoes sliced 1/8 inch thick where they softened and sapped up the cream. This is the point in the recipe when you can layer the potatoes in a pie plate, seal it very tight and refrigerate until about 1 hour and 15 minutes before you serve them.With any luck you’ll achieve a ‘potato pie’ that you can cut into wedges and serve. Here is the recipe.
Upstate Scalloped Potatoes from Cheryl Rogowski of Orange County, New York
This recipe makes a superb potato pie which can be cut into wedges for serving. Taragon and Cipollini onions give it a unique flavor...but as the story says, feel free to substitute chives and regular onions.
- 3 tablespoons butter, more for greasing pie plate
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, minced
- 4 small cipollini onions, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced French tarragon leaves plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped, for garnish
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 2 pounds (about 6 medium) Keuka Gold potatoes (unpeeled), sliced 1/8-inch thick
- Ground white pepper
- Step 1 Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch deep-dish glass pie plate.
- Step 2 In a wide saucepan, combine 3 tablespoons butter, garlic, leek and onions. Place over medium-low heat and sauté until mixture is light golden, about 15 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons tarragon, the cream and potatoes, and mix well. Simmer gently until potatoes are barely tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
- Step 3 Using a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to pie plate, spreading them evenly and pressing lightly to compact them. Drizzle with 2 to 3 tablespoons of cream from pan. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until top is light golden brown, about 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Garnish with a sprinkling of chopped tarragon, and serve.