Scalloped Potatoes and Au Gratin Potatoes: The Basics
First, let’s talk about the potatoes. The recipe you choose will determine the type of potato you’ll use. Russets, red potatoes, smooth skin white potatoes and Yukon golds are all good. For general helpfulness about purchasing and preparing, take a look at our article on potatoes (or this article on sweet potatoes). Sometimes a recipe will call for sliced potatoes; sometimes the potatoes are partially boiled and then sliced. Sometimes the potatoes are sliced and then blanched. Any way you cut it, you might find a mandolin useful, or this video on knife skills. And, you could get creative and go diced. To see the whole process in action, take a look at this Potatoes au Gratin video.
Then there’s the sauce. Scalloped potatoes made with a “from scratch” white sauce (also called béchamel) are utterly delicious. Butter and flour are cooked together, milk is added and the sauce is gently cooked to a silky consistency. Easy Dijon Scalloped Potatoes are a perfect example of a recipe that uses this technique. If you have found that making sauces has proven to be a bit challenging, remember that you can always strain the lumps out before pouring the sauce over the potatoes.
If making sauce from scratch isn’t what you had in mind, we have the easy way out: Sour cream and VELVEETA get together to make a sauce that you just stir together and bake with sliced blanched potatoes in New-Look Scalloped Potatoes and Ham. The total time from start to finish is an hour, and you can serve a crowd of 16 with this delicious side.