These are my favorite potatoes of all time. Buttery with a browned, crunchy top crust, Mom’s scalloped potatoes just melt in your mouth. I have loved these since I was a kid, and I still get a spring in my step if Mom says she’s making scalloped potatoes for my family.
To this day, when we’re done eating, Mom asks if I want to “clean the pan” before she washes it. That’s code for “scrape off the crusty goodness and shove the buttery, browned bits in your mouth.” As you can imagine, my answer is always, “YES!!” Of course, Dad is happy to assist with “cleaning the pan” as well.
This divine side dish relies on four simple ingredients (potatoes, butter, flour and milk), plus salt, pepper and onion powder. Nothing else is really needed.
Mom’s version is slightly adapted from the recipe in the vintage Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book — you know, the red and white one from 1950 that advises women to fix their hair and put on makeup, cologne and earrings before breakfast and housework. (I’ll get right on that. In my dress, apron and heels.)
Anyway, Mom’s scalloped potatoes contain extra spuds, butter and flour and are baked long enough to achieve the aforementioned crust from heaven. Perfection, I tell you.
The key to making this dish work, however, is slicing the potatoes thinly (1/8-inch), since they will be arranged in three layers. I’m so excited that my husband, bless his heart, surprised me with a new mandoline for this job. (Although it sounds like a musical instrument, a mandoline’s actually a nifty slicing device that enables you to adjust the thickness of each cut.)
My old mandoline was missing the handheld gripper that protects your fingers. I used it for years without it, occasionally shaving off the tips of my fingernails in the process. (Don’t worry, Honey and kids. I’m 85% sure I was able to fish them out of the food.)
Makin’ Betty proud, right here.
(Recipe Source: Barely adapted from Mom, who slightly adapted the recipe from Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book, 1950)