I made these scalloped potatoes for Easter dinner this year, and they were a huge hit. The 2030 group from my church (so-named because the members of the group are in their 20s and 30s) had a potluck for all the folks without family in the area. It was a great gathering with some seriously delicious food - roasted asparagus, ham, Ceasar salad, falafels, fruit salad, biscuits, cheese and crackers, mimosas, green bean casserole, scalloped potatoes, chocolate cake, mini cupcakes, and probably more things that I'm forgetting! Definitely a feast fit for Easter!
These potatoes were a great addition to the meal. They're definitely on the rich side, and so they're perfect for a holiday meal. I loved the combination of the three cheeses - the Gruyere especially added a really interesting dimension to the dish. The layer of extra flavors - fennel, smoked paprika, and parsley - in the middle of the potatoes also really added something special, They made this recipe different from your usual scalloped potatoes, without adding much extra work (the fennel can be prepared while the potatoes are simmering). This is definitely a recipe to pull out your food processor for. Grate the potatoes and fennel first, followed by all the cheeses - your fingers will thank you, especially if you're making a double recipe as I did (yep, that was 5 pounds of potatoes)!
Scalloped Potatoes with Fontina, Gruyere, and Cheddar (adapted from Fine Cooking)
2-1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch thick rounds
1-1/4 cups lower-salt chicken broth
1-1/4 cups half-and-half
Freshly ground black pepper
2 T butter
1 large fennel bulb, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
3 ounces grated Fontina
2 ounces grated aged Gruyere (not smoked)
3 ounces grated sharp Cheddar, divided
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 T chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup panko
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter or oil a 3-quart gratin dish or 9x13 baking dish.
2. Combine the potatoes, broth, half-and-half, 1/2 tsp salt, and several grinds of pepper in a large skillet. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally and gently with a rubber spatula, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a skewer, 8-12 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium skillet and saute the fennel until tender and browned. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Transfer half the potatoes into the gratin dish with a slotted spoon. Layer on the fennel, Fontina, Gruyere, and 1 ounce of the Cheddar. Sprinkle on the smoked paprika and parsley. Top with the remaining potato mixture, and pour over any remaining liquid from the skillet.
5. Sprinkle the potatoes with the remaining 2 ounces Cheddar cheese, followed by the panko. Bake until bubbly and browned, and until the potatoes are completely tender, about 30 minutes. Let the gratin sit for at least 10 minutes (and up to 30 minutes) before serving.