Tasty Tuesday: National Tater Day

TASTY TUESDAY, March 30, 2021. . . . NATIONAL TATER DAY 

National Tater Day is tomorrow!  Have you ever heard the word “taters”?  When I grew up in Kansas, I finally learned that taters were another name for potatoes – much easier for little children and others to say. I hadn’t heard the name “taters” for YEARS! Until I learned there was actually a NATIONAL TATERS DAY.  Maybe that is a sign this Granny is getting back into her “second childhood”.  I’ve always heard we, as humans, go through a life cycle of being children and when we get “old” we go back into a childhood status.  Maybe my time is getting close. 😊

 Well, whatever it is, I have to say, I grew up on potatoes at almost every meal. So, I LOVE potatoes. They are another comfort food for me. Any way prepared! They are pretty inexpensive and come in a variety of kinds as well as the variety of preparations for the taters. I love them all! AND one of my favorites is a scalloped potato dish. I grew up with them being called scalloped and as I learned during my junior high school cooking classes, what I really liked was an au ‘gratin potato. My mother ALWAYS put cheese in our scalloped potatoes.  AND we ALWAYS had them for Christmas Day! So, they definitely hold warm loving memories for me. So, the second I saw there was a NATIONAL TATER DAY, I knew which recipe I wanted to share with you!

If you’ve never eaten scalloped taters, I hope you will try them!  They are easy to make and you can make them in several ways, depending on your tastes and what you happen to have on hand.

Scalloped Potatoes Au ’Gratin (with cheese)

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 ½ cup whole milk

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground pepper

4 ounces shredded cheese, American/Cheddar/Gruyere or a combination – your preference

2 pound potatoes, peeled, sliced about 1/8“ thick

6 ounces ham, diced (optional)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 deg F. 

In large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Stir in flour and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in about 1 cup milk and cook, stirring or whisking until thickened.  Add another ½ cup milk and cook, until thickened and smooth (about 3 minutes).  Stir constantly to avoid scorching.

Add the nutmeg if using; add the salt and pepper. Stir. Add half the cheese and cook gently until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.

Grease an 8” square baking dish with butter (or equivalent size dish). Arrange half of the potatoes on the bottom. Layer in half of the creamed mixture.  If using ham, sprinkle over now. Add the remaining potatoes and remaining creamed mixture. 

Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Test the potatoes for tenderness with a knife.  Leave the cover off, add the remaining cheese and bake an additional 20 minutes until the top is browned. Cool slightly until ready to serve.

NOTES FROM THE CHEF:

I often add thin sliced sweet onions and often some sliced green tops of spring onions for color.

I often add some diced jarred pimento peppers for color and a little added flavor.

The ham is a nice flavor but not necessary.  If you want the pork flavor fry some bacon, crisp, crumble and added to the potatoes in the dish or on top as a garnish.

To make scalloped potatoes without the au ‘gratin just leave out the cheese.

This recipe may be doubled or cut in half. Just make sure you make enough!

PLEASE ENJOY! Any time of the year.  They just might be one of your comfort foods too! 😊

Bon Appetite’ with Love,

Granni K

To download this recipe, click here.