My family’s holiday meals are not complete unless they include at least two forms of potatoes. One of those has to be traditional mashed potatoes–no roasted garlic, no herbs…not even pepper–my mom usually makes them with butter, a splash of milk and a sprinkle of salt. While plain mashed potatoes are always delicious, I would rather stray from tradition and make a potato dish with a little more flavor. Often, I am in charge of making the “other potato” dish–the one that can contain whatever I please–no rules.
I have this problem where as soon as there are no rules I try something so far from tradition that no one will try it. Like one year at Thanksgiving I made a sweet potato casserole that had roasted bananas and an oatmeal nut crumble topping. I will admit that while it turned out really well, my family pretty much rejected this wild addition to our holiday meal.
I’m learning to make the “other potato” dish something that still has accessible flavors, but still manages to be something different. This scalloped potato recipe is what evolved. I decided to use 2/3 yukon gold potatoes and 1/3 sweet potatoes. I like the flavor of these potatoes more than traditional russets, but they don’t have as much starch as russets, so the sauce uses a little flour to hold everything together. A thinly sliced red onion layered with the potatoes breaks up their dense texture and adds a mild sweetness. Thyme is the major flavor player in the herb department, but the subtle and mellow flavor of sage rounds out this dish. Some might find topping unnecessary, but who can resist toasted and buttery bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese? Certainly not me.