If you are looking for a great idea for a side dish that goes equally well with either meat or seafood (I know because my wife made these when she prepared Alaskan King Crabs and Shrimp, AND bacon wrapped filet mignon) then you need to take a look at this individually presented baked scalloped potatoes au gratin.
First, lets take a look at what the terms “scalloped” and “au gratin” mean since they tend to get generalized.
From all that I can find, and what makes sense to me, “scalloped” refers to food presented in a circlular form. The potatoes are sliced thinly and therefore look like chips. Scallops – a seafood that pops out of those neat looking shells that we see on the gas station sign.
“Au Gratin” is the one that gets more misunderstood. While it can be read as “with cheese” or can be described as being prepared with bread crumbs or grated cheese (some etymology suggests gratincan mean grated) the term more likely refers to a crust. Which is why people think it has to have bread crumbs. But there are au gratin dishes without breadcrumb… like the one my wife made. So… au gratin more refers to being browned or crisped.
And, of course, when my wife does things… presentation is not only key… it is her way of showing each individual she cares about them. So for this dish she chose these cool little individual baking dishes. They are only about 4.5 inches long, 2.5 inches wide, and an inch deep. Having these little dishes accomplishes a few things that have pretty practical benefits.
First, that demonstation that you really care about the guest. This presentation is unique and when she had me bring these to the table (yeah, I’m good for carrying stuff) everyone noticed and enjoyed them.
Next, portion control. That means that you don’t have to over buy or prepare, and people get to try the food without getting full on it. My wife does this for me because she knows how much I love these potatoes and I would polish off whatever she put on the table
This is what the potatoes looked like coming from the prep pan to the baking dish.
And after about 20-25 minutes in the oven at 350°F they come out looking like this…
I promise to come back with the recipe for the potatoes… but my wife is at work and I don’t know how to make them! So stay tuned and check back.