The term scalloped in scalloped potatoes likely refers to the scalloped edges of a baking dish, which is traditionally used to cook this dish. The word scalloped is derived from the Old French word escaloper, which means "to cut into a shell-like shape".
When potatoes are sliced thinly and layered in a baking dish, the resulting shape of the dish is similar to the shape of a scallop shell, with the potato slices overlapping each other and forming a scalloped pattern. The creamy sauce in which the potatoes are baked creates a smooth, rounded surface on top of the dish, which also resembles a scallop shell.
So, it's likely that the name "scalloped potatoes" originated from the shape of the dish, which resembles the shape of a scallop shell, rather than from any particular ingredient or cooking technique.
What is the difference between scalloped and gratin potatoes?
Scalloped potatoes and potato gratin are both potato dishes that are baked in a creamy sauce, but there are some differences between the two.
Scalloped potatoes are made with thinly sliced potatoes that are layered in a baking dish and then baked in a creamy sauce made with milk, butter, and cheese. The dish is typically seasoned with salt and pepper and may include additional ingredients such as garlic, onions, or herbs.
Potato gratin, on the other hand, is made with thinly sliced potatoes that are baked in a creamy sauce made with heavy cream and cheese. The dish is typically seasoned with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and may include additional ingredients such as garlic or onions.
The key difference between scalloped potatoes and potato gratin is the type of cream used in the sauce. Scalloped potatoes are made with a lighter sauce made with milk, while potato gratin is made with a richer sauce made with heavy cream. As a result, potato gratin is generally considered to be a more indulgent and decadent dish than scalloped potatoes.
In addition, potato gratin is often finished under the broiler to create a crispy, golden brown crust on top, while scalloped potatoes are typically baked uncovered in the oven until the top is lightly browned and bubbly.
Scalloped potatoes are a classic comfort food that consists of thinly sliced potatoes baked in a creamy, cheesy sauce. Here's a basic recipe for scalloped potatoes:
- 2 lbs potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup grated cheese (cheddar, Gruyere, or Parmesan)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is bubbly and slightly golden.
- Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
- Stir in the cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder (if using), and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, stirring until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Layer the sliced potatoes in the bottom of the dish, overlapping them slightly.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the potatoes, making sure to cover them completely.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown and bubbly.
- Let the scalloped potatoes cool for a few minutes before serving.
Optional: You can also add other ingredients such as ham, onions, or herbs to the dish for additional flavor.