Scalloped potato dish wins heart's devotion


POSTED: Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Oh, to have loved and lost—a recipe.

Gail Nakamura loved her recipe for a scalloped potato dish from the Halekulani. Alas, it is lost and she can remember little about it except that it was fabulous.

But here at recipe central, we occasionally can forge a happy ending and reunite the lover with the lovee.

So it is today. We hope.

Halekulani chef Darryl Fujita isn't sure this is the exact dish Nakamura remembers, but it is the one that he serves on the brunch menu at Orchids.

The dish is really a masterpiece of simplicity—just five ingredients, and two of them are salt and pepper. There's no thickener such as the flour found in most scalloped potato recipes, so there's not even any stirring involved.

Once you slice the potatoes, little effort is required; your oven will do all the work. Although the recipe calls for it, I didn't even peel the potatoes when I tested the dish—Yukon Golds have a smooth, soft skin that melts into the dish.

Why is it special? All the cheese that goes over the top has a lot to do with it. Plus the dish is chilled overnight, which allows everything to set up nicely before you slice it, reheat and serve.

My test version came out of the fridge firm and as easy to slice as a cake. Once reheated, the cream and cheese softened just a bit, into a puddle of yum.

That said, this dish is an extravagance, in calories and cost. One serving has 580 calories and 40 grams of fat. The quart of cream and real Parmesan cheese will set you back around $15 (if you're tempted to use the imitation Parmesan in the green can, remember that this is a Halekulani recipe; aim higher). The potatoes, at least, are a bargain—I got a 3-pound bag on sale for $3.50.

Well, you only live once. Eat small portions.

Scalloped Potato Gratin

8 Yukon Gold potatoes (about 3 pounds), peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and white pepper, to taste
1 quart (4 cups) heavy cream
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Layer potatoes in baking pan, sprinkling with salt and pepper between layers. Pour cream over the top, making sure all the potatoes are covered. Cover pan with foil and bake 45 minutes.

Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes, until top is golden brown.

Top with cheese and return to oven until cheese browns.

Chill overnight. Cut in square portions and reheat. Serves 10.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving (not including salt to taste): 580 calories, 40 g fat, 25 g saturated fat, 145 mg cholesterol, 300 mg sodium, 43 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, no sugar, 13 g protein.

Stone cookies, revisited

Maybe I imagined this, but I'm quite sure that a couple of weeks ago I got an e-mail from someone who had tested and improved on the recipe for Mountain View-style Stone Cookies that ran in this space in April.

By some highly technical e-mail glitch (I probably pressed the wrong button), that e-mail has gone astray—so if you're out there, mystery correspondent, please try again.

Lots of people were interested in that recipe and I'd really like to try out your improvements and compare them to the real thing.

Nutritional analyses by Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S. Send queries to “;By Request,”; Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813. Send e-mail to: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).