Fancy modern scalloped potatoes for your next fall or winter dinner party. Creamy potato stacks with crisped tops and awesome toppings.
Fall and winter are potato season to me which is why today's recipe has been one we've been wanting to share since August (aka the most humid and hot of all Virginia months). It's a modern, fancy take on scalloped potatoes with a twist. I'd define it as a 'worth it' recipe if you're making food for a small dinner party during the holiday season. It's delicious, it's gorgeous. Go for it, but start a day ahead...more on that later.
After our trip to Copenhagen, Chris and I sat down and talked through food inspiration from all of our meals. Copenhagen's food scene is very modern in comparison to many popular places here in the DC area (I say many- not all- so don't you 'but minibar!' me DMV-ers). One day for lunch we stopped by the Royal Smushi Cafe which is an adorable restaurant that blends smørrebrød and sushi together more or less. Really it just means adorable bites of entrees on a plate in towers. But one of the ones we ordered really stuck with us and baffled us...and weeks later we were trying to figure out the methodology of how they made this potato stack and how they got it to cook but also be creamy. And so, we Googled.
Which brings us to Thomas Keller and Martha. Martha and Thomas (first name basis) did a tv segment together a few years ago for Thomas's book Ad Hoc at Home. Potato pave was a recipe. It was the same looking base tower we ate in Copenhagen. QUESTIONS ANSWERED. Essentially, the pave (which he named for the French word for paving stones) is cut potato slices, stacked, baked, pressed and then cut. The potatoes are cut thinly enough so they cook in the oven, and then become tightly layered thanks to a weight after baking.
So we took the pave and changed it. Because white scalloped potatoes are delicious, I think we all know better than to mess with your Grandma/Mom/Aunt/Cat's recipe for that dish. The flavor profile of this is smoked and fancy. A dollop of alder wood smoked cream cheese adds moisture and an additional layer of flavor while the roe adds salt. You'll also see a small amount of minced fresh rosemary. The potato chip is a trick we saw in Copenhagen. In real life, Chris and I recommend crunching up multiple chips and sprinkling over top. It's the best texture adjustment but not as pretty on camera.
I really want to note that this recipe has a lot of down time so make it a full day ahead of when you need it ready. Day of, you'll only need to pan fry it and add the toppings. But there is lots of time when you're waiting for things to happen/cool/compress so don't plan to just make this happen an hour before dinner. It's not going to work, and then you'll be frustrated and open the Domino's app and also see if wine can be delivered.
For the roe, this is your choice. We are not 'caviar/roe' people in general, but we did eat a LOT of it at our anniversary dinner last week at Pineapples and Pearls in DC. But it was small batch, hand harvested trout roe from some chef up north who decided that was his calling. And it was worth it. But there are a lot of unregulated absolute crap roes that are sold in the grocery. Some use food dye. Some try to trick you by having a brand name that uses the word Caviar but it's actually less regulated roe. So I'll leave this up to you. I like the salt and texture and visuals of the roe and for the holidays I would definitely do it. But if it weirds you out, or you're looking to cut down on price of this, leave it out. Use seaweed 'roe' from IKEA's marketplace or another alternative. Hypothetically, as I type this, I feel like minced kalamata olives might work....You do you.
Smoked Scalloped Potato Stacks
Side dish: serves six
Potato Stack adapted from Thomas Keller Potato Pave
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 pounds russet potatoes
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1-2 Tablespoons milk
- a smoke gun with alder chips OR smoked salt OR liquid smoke
- butter for pan frying
- fresh rosemary
- kettle chips
- note: you will also need parchment paper and aluminum foil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Pour cream into a large low bowl and add a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Peel potatoes and trip all sides of the potatoes to make a rectangle. Use a mandoline or a sharp knife, and thinly slice the potato (lengthwise cuts). Toss potato slices in cream. Note: reserve potato trimmings from this recipe to make mashed potatoes.
Prep your baking pan while potatoes are in cream (use a large loaf pan) and brush with softened butter. Line with parchment paper that leaves about a five inch overhang on all four sides. Brush the parchment paper with butter and season the paper with salt and pepper.
Using the cream tossed potatoes, create an even layer on the bottom of the parchment covered pan. Cut and trim potatoes as needed to form a layer to fit the pan. Create a second layer using the same method then brush with butter and season with more salt and pepper. Continue until all potatoes are used.
Fold the sides of the parchment over the potatoes. Use aluminum foil to cover tightly and place in oven.
Bake for an hour and half oruntil the potatoes can be pierced with a sharp knife. Cool 15 minutes, leaving foil on.
While potatoes are cooling, cut a piece of cardboard to fit inside the pan and use foil to create a barrier between the parchment and weight. Place a weight (I used a brick, but a can or something similar would work) on the cardboard on the potatoes.
Cool to room temperature. Remove the weight and refrigerate at least six hours, or up to two days.
To prepare cream cheese, whip in a bowl with 1-2 tablespoons of milk to make a pipe-able mixture. Smoke with smoke gun to directions OR add smoked salt OR a dash of liquid smoke.
To pan fry the potatoes, unwrap the parchment paper and trim the potato block edges to make straight sides. Cut into twelve pieces.
Heat butter in a cast iron skillet. Cook on each side until brown.
Plate and pipe with a nickle sized amount of smoked cream cheese, a small amount of roe, fresh minced rosemary and crunched kettle chips.
Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.