SB and I made the round of the farmer's markets and roadside stands today ... a hot Saturday called for another ride with the windows down. By the time we came home, there were new potatoes and new corn to add to our Swiss chard bumper crop. I have been thinking that escalloped potatoes made with some garlic cheddar that I bought at the Grafton Village Cheese Company the other day (on another road trip) would be just the ticket to knosh while we watch the Red Sox game this lazy Saturday evening.
Now, making escalloped potatoes is such an inexact science. The ingredients are so basic: potatoes, milk, butter, flour, onions, and cheese. I am adding chopped chives and topping this batch with some crispy bacon that I have to use up ... such a shame. I just think the garlic, chive, bacon thing is going to be totally tasty. This batch makes enough for four if you are making it as a side dish.
The key for escalloped potatoes is to use a large enough covered casserole ... and if you cram your potatoes in to a less than commodious casserole, place a foil-lined pan under the casserole so that when it bubbles over it doesn't smoke your oven up too much! The voice of experience is speaking here ... can you hear it?
So, here we go ... wash and slice 5 medium-sized potatoes relatively thin. I didn't peel these because they were so new that their skins weren't developed, but you may want to peel yours ... or not. Slice some onions ( 1/2 of a large sweet one) and cheese (4 - 5 oz should do it). Finely chop some chives. Cook some bacon until it's crispy. Get out two tablespoons of cold butter and two tablespoons of flour. Have everything handy to layer into the casserole.
Grease the casserole and pour a bit of milk in the bottom. Layer in the potatoes, onions, cheese, chives, butter and flour. Get the butter and flour in the bottom two layers so that the bubbling milk will thicken and bubble up through the top layers. Keep making layers with everything but the bacon. Top the casserole with the bacon bits. Pour enough milk to fill the casserole halfway up its sides. Top with plenty of black pepper, because everything is better with black pepper.
Grease the inside top of the casserole and cover. Bake for 45 - 60 minutes in a 400 degree oven ... give or take. I take the cover off after 45 minutes and poke a piece of potato from the casserole for a taste. If the potatoes are done, I leave the cover off and crisp up the top while I cook the other vegetables. If they're still a bit firm, I return the cover and give them another 15 minutes or so. Like I said, not an exact science here!
And voila ... an easy throw-it-together meal for a lazy Saturday night ... the casserole dish may be butt ugly, but the contents are, like I said, totally tasty! New corn and Swiss chard ... yum! Gooey taters with bacon and garlick-y cheddar! What a great farm meal!