Traditions Going Sideways

Before we're all rushing to have our first spring picnics as the frost slowly fades from our landscapes, it's time to reach out and embrace winter dining at its finest. Fire up your oven and roast a ham or pork roast. Make a batch of homemade apple sauce. And when it comes to a savory side for a meal like that, consider something like this:

If you're a fan of hasselback potatoes and scalloped potatoes, consider this dish their child with a little curry flavor tossed in to keep things spicy! The combination of rich cheeses and dairy alongside tender taters and a little curry kick makes this a side dish that can easily showcase as a main dish for any vegetarians wishing to embrace winter before spring brings back all the green.

When assembling this dish, I had one or two golden turnips on hand from a root vegetable share from our CSA farm, so I tossed those into the mix, too. I think the results were so lovely that I'd happily recommend any combination of root vegetables with the kind of treatment. After all, who isn't going to love some of the season's most prized vegetables bathed in cheese and baked to perfection? Dig in!

Scalloped Hasselback Potato Casserole

  • 3 ounces grated Swiss cheese
  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups half & half
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons curry powder (choose your favorite variety)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 to 3 1/2 pounds potatoes, well-washed and sliced 1/4-inch thick (the amounts will vary depending on how they fill the casserole dish)
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Combine the grated cheese in a large bowl. Add the half & half, garlic, and curry powder to the bowl containing the grated cheeses. Season the sauce generously with salt and pepper. Add the potato slices and toss with hands until every slice is thoroughly coated with sauce mixture.

Coat a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Organize a handful of sliced potatoes into a neat stack and lay them in the casserole dish with their edges aligned vertically. Continue placing potatoes in the casserole dish until all of the potatoes have been added. They should be very tightly packed. If necessary, slice additional potatoes, coat them with the sauce mixture, and add them to the casserole dish to fill in any holes or loose spots. Pour the excess sauce mixture evenly over the potatoes until it comes half way up the sides of the casserole dish. Dot the top of the dish the the butter, slivering to make certain that it is evenly distributed over the top of the casserole dish.

Cover the casserole dish with its lid or tightly with foil and transfer it to the preheated oven. Bake the dish for 30 minutes. Remove the lid or foil and continue baking until the top is pale golden brown, about 30 minutes longer. Remove the casserole dish from the oven and allow it to rest for a few minutes prior to serving.

  • Yields: 8-10 servings
  • Preparation Time: 90 minutes