Scalloped Potatoes

Easter Sunday was yesterday.  A visit from a special bunny, too much chocolate, and lots of family time, made for a fun filled day in our house.  I like to think that I give my kids a run for their money when it comes to getting excited about holidays.   I have a difficult time sleeping the night before.  Waking up multiple times.  Tossing and turning.  Wondering if the bunny/Santa/anyone who might be delivering presents, has come.  Yesterday was no exception.  I was up before the sun, went for a run, ate breakfast, AND it was still too early to get the kids up.  Sheesh!

Even though I'd like to have spent the entire day eating chocolate, I made sure I saved lots of room for our big family dinner.  There are few things I enjoy more than gathering around a big table with the people I love most.   Throw in some delicious family favourites, and you've got yourself a successful holiday dinner.
Last night my contribution was scalloped potatoes.  Easter isn't quite Easter without scalloped potatoes.  They go hand in hand with ham.  This year I decided to take a fresh approach to the standard dish.  Roasted tomatoes, peppers and onions, layered between potatoes and Gruyere cheese.  Mmmm.  Seconds please!

Scalloped Potatoes w/ Oven Roasted Tomatoes & Bell Peppers

2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups 2% milk, divided
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 bay leaves
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, sliced 1/8 inch thick and patted dry
1 cup Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated
4 Roma tomatoes, sliced 3/4 inch thick
2 orange bell peppers, cut into 3/4 inch thick strips
1 onion, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for dish
1 1/2 tsp herbes de Provence
1 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs, divided

Whisk the egg yolks and 1/2 cup 2% milk in small bowl, set aside.  Combine the remaining cup of 2% milk and 1 cup of evaporated milk in a medium saucepan; stir in the nutmeg, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Add the garlic and bay leaves and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce the heat to medium low; add the potatoes and simmer until halfway cooked, about 6 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Gradually stir in the egg-milk mixture and 1 cup of cheese.  Cover and keep warm.

Preheat the broiler.  Put the tomatoes, bell peppers and onion on a baking sheet in separate piles.  Drizzle each pile with 2 teaspoons olive oil and sprinkle each with 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence, and salt and pepper to taste.  Toss each pile of vegetables to coat, then spread out.  Broil until tender and charred around the edges, about 10-12 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Brush a 1 1/2 quart baking dish with olive oil.  Sprinkle half of the breadcrumbs in the dish.  Spoon out half of the potatoes and arrange evenly over the breadcrumbs; top with the broiled onions and half each of the tomatoes and bell peppers.  Top with the remaining potatoes in an even layer and all of the milk mixture; discard the garlic and bay leaves.  Top with the remaining tomatoes and bell peppers.

Bake until the potatoes are tender and lightly golden, 45-50 minutes.  Drizzle with the remaining 1/2 cup evaporated milk and sprinkle with remaining breadcrumbs.  Return to the oven and bake for another 5-7 minutes.  Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!  Serves 6-8

slightly adapted from Food Network Magazine - April 2012
(made healthier, with substitutions for heavy cream and whole milk)


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