Heaven on Earth Scalloped Potatoes (with Mushrooms)

My friend Karla decided to host a Christmas party at her waterfront home in Hawaii Kai. Fortunately for us, the party coincided with the date of the Hawaii Kai Boat Parade of Lights.  How cool to watch the parade from the ideal location on her lanai, while enjoying a lovely dinner party and Christmas celebration!

The menu for the evening was split between the guests and included:

Filet Mignon
Scalloped Potatoes
Brussels Sprouts
Glazed Carrots
and Assorted Pupus

I was assigned to the Scalloped Potatoes, which was great because I love this dish had some good ideas based on Karla’s suggestion to get fancy and add mushrooms to the dish. This is how super rich and cheesy Heaven-on-Earth Scalloped Potatoes evolved. A classic dish, it also gets earthiness from the addition of the mushrooms. This is a make-again dish the whole family will enjoy.

Heaven on Earth Scalloped Potatoes

4 pounds Peeled Russet Potatoes
1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tsp Salt for Potatoes
1  Tsp Salt for Mushrooms
2 Tsp White pepper for Potatoes
1/2 Tsp Black Pepper for Mushrooms
4-6 medium garlic cloves, sent through garlic press
1/2 TBS Garlic Powder
1 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 cup grated or shaved Parmesan cheese
1 8 oz package of Creme Fraiche
1/2 of an 8 oz package of Gorgonzola Crumbles (4 oz)
3 TBS fresh thyme leaves (or 1 TBSP dried thyme)
1/2 Pound Crimini (Baby Portabellos) Mushrooms

Preheat oven to 375°F. Slice potatoes about 1/8 inch thick with a mandoline slicer or sharp knife. Potatoes need to be evenly sliced or they will not cook evenly.

Mandoline Slicing Potatoes

Toss potatoes on a baking sheet with 2 Tsp salt and white pepper, fresh garlic  and thyme to lightly and evenly coat. Pour heavy cream into a 2 cup glass measuring cup and stir in garlic powder and nutmeg, mixing well. Separate potatoes into four approximately even piles.  Remove  1/4 of the potatoes from baking sheet and arrange evenly in a 2 1/2 quart glass or ceramic baking dish. Pour 1/4 cup of the cream mixture over the potatoes.

Potato GratinParmesan Cheese Creme Fraiche Gorgonzola

Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Add 1/2 of the creme fraiche, distributing evenly in small dollop and 1/2 of the blue cheese crumbles (2 oz). These cheeses, along with the creme fraiche, will add a nice tang to the dish without being too strong. If you really like gorgonzola cheese, feel free to double the amount of cheese in this recipes to 8 oz. total.  This works well, too.

Repeat the layering with another 1/4 of potatoes, 1/4 cup heavy cream mixture, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 2 more times.  Add the final 1/2 of creme fraiche and 1/2 (2 oz.) of blue cheese crumbles.  Add last 1/4 potatoes, drizzle with another 1/4 cup of the cream mixture. 

Slice and toss mushrooms in medium bowl with 1 TBS of olive oil and 1 Tsp salt and 1 Tsp black pepper. 
Sliced MushroomsOlice Oil Mushrooms Arrange mushroom slices on top of potatoes around edge of dish. Cover top of mushrooms with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and remaining 1/2 cup of the heavy cream. If you don’t have crimini mushrooms, you may substitute with button mushrooms or mushrooms may be omitted, as well.

Mushrooms on Potatoes

Bake uncovered until potatoes are cooked through, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. (If potatoes have been refigerated prior to cooking, either allow to come to room temperature prior to baking or you will need to bake longer.) 

Potatoes with Mushrooms

Remove from oven and let stand 15-20 minutes, serving from the dish. Or if you choose to make this dish in advance, let potatoes cool completely and refrigerate. When ready to serve cut into pieces, place on baking sheet and cover with foil. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake for about 15-20 minutes until fully heated.

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