When I grocery shop and menu plan each week, I make a conscious effort to think of something “blogworthy” to cook during the week. It can be anything from a new ingredient, a specific vegetable in season or even an old favorite. I visualize what story I want to tell with the recipe or how I might want to plate the dish so it looks good in a picture.
This week I had it all set….I was going to write about little “pressed” potato cups…and then I realized….I wrote about potatoes LAST WEEK. Can I write about potatoes two weeks in a row? Are potatoes that blogworthy? And I can sum it up in one word….YES!!!!
A couple of my favorite dishes that show up on holiday tables are scalloped and au gratin potatoes. Wait….aren’t those the same thing? Nope. They aren’t. (See we did need another potato blog).
Scalloped potatoes are thinly sliced and baked in a cream sauce. Au gratin potatoes are thinly sliced and baked with cheese in between each layer….and if you are lucky some extra cheese on the top. They are both delicious but there is one thing in common that I covet in both dishes….the edges.
It is socially unacceptable to only scoop out your portion taking edge pieces. (I know this from an awkward buffet experience…it got ugly…things were said….by me…because some maniac was hogging all the edges…it was wrong…I shouldn’t have called him Mr. Potato head…..with two extra mouths….we broke up after this….I couldn’t be with such a monster….)
I digress….I really like the edges. They always turn golden brown and are a little crispy. The juxtaposition of the smooth soft potato slices next to the crunchy border makes it one of those perfect bites of food.
The problem is that when most people make those dishes, it is made in a large casserole dishes. The ratio of edges to middle is off. There is no way to get a bite of delicate edge to robust potato in each bite. (I also have this issue when eating pizza…because I think every piece deserves crust….therefor every pizza should be cut “pie” style….but that is another soapbox for a different blog.)
The solution was easy….make the potatoes in a muffin tin! I had seen a recipe that delicately stacked thin slices of potatoes and sprinkled them with cheese. Okay….sounds good but I wanted more…I wanted more creaminess.
So my solution was this….I preheated my oven to 400 degrees and I greased up my muffin tin.. Cut 3 large russet potatoes in halve and then thinly sliced them. I divided my piles of potatoes in to two. The first half, I shingled into the twelve muffin tins. (When I say shingle, I’m meaning I overlapped them.) A hearty sprinkle of salt and a sprinkle of cheese. I didn’t measure a thing…I just added enough cheese so it covered the tops of the potatoes.
I then took my remaining potato slices and pressed the repeat button…..layering each slice and topping with salt and cheese.
Place your tin on a baking sheet (you will thank me for this later)….here is where the magic happens…take some heavy cream and drizzle it over the top until you see it peaking up on the edge of the potato cups. It was only about a Tablespoon per muffin tin. Press it all down.
Spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray and cover the muffin tin…I always make one corner a little loose so I can pull off the foil later. Cook on the baking sheet for 20 minutes (this is where the sheet is handy because on occasion my tins have overflowed because I added too much cream.)
Uncover and bake another 20-25 minutes. It should look brown and crusty when it is done. Remove from oven and let sit for about five minutes and release from pan with a large tablespoon.
These are soooo good. As I was typing this, I thought these would also be great as a breakfast side when you are serving a crowd (a sprinkle of bacon may be nice too.)
The best part is that they all taste like a corner section out of a dish of potatoes…and no one will ever know your dirty past of only eating the edges!