An all weather dish - Havarati Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

Christmas is upon us. I am in London at the moment and I feel like I have been caught up on fairy tale of lights and cheer. The big difference I find here is that frenetic holiday shopping with the associated clamor for getting your hands on the marked down items faster than it flies off the shelf, is not seen. Primarily because, there are not too many Sales going on.

Nevertheless, having spent the last three Christmas seasons on this side of the pond, I have come to infinitely appreciate the lack of the "crush". I love being able to leisurely walk around, even inside department stores, grabbing a coffee, walking on and settling into my favorite hobby of eating. London for me is all about good food, markets and happiness. 

Anyway, let us get down to the business of today's post. I am sure, you are already planning your menus for Christmas and days around it. Today, I want to make a small suggestion. No, no, I have no intention of throwing you well laid plans into chaos. But, I merely want to throw in my two-pence if there is wee bit of space on your table yet. 

You see, the reason, I insist is this.

I first made this humble dish for a Summer barbecue a couple of months ago. Wait, don't go away. It is not about Summer. It's about the dish.. Really. So anyway, it was a small part of a large table but somehow over the course of the few hours, it seemed to slowly swell in size to occupy rather the main stage of the table.

I was fascinated by this almost sorcerous leap to center piece. As the cook, I shrugged off, any 'magic' in all this and simply basked in the glory, of satisfied diners. But, it haunted me. I wanted to see if it was just a alcohol induced hallucination. So, second go it was.

You see, it happened again. Somehow, it managed to steal the spotlight again. This time, I was less self-absorbed and plain out asked what was so more-ish about the dish. As a cook, one is aware of the flavors and how they work. Yet, sometimes, the unexpected success needs some explanation.

Anyway, the resounding answer to the dish's popularity was the unexpected spicy-sweet flavors in it. I had used aged Havarati Cheese by Castello which has a lovely rounded caramel notes that added a mellow sweetness. As fiery balance I had thrown in a few chili flakes. It was one of those commercial successes - you can never have just one (helping)!

Now, you must wonder about the title. The thing is this. Scalloped Potatoes are a perfect dish for your Holiday table as for the BBQ spread. It adds a lovely luscious note to the meal and makes a beautiful side whether you are serving ham or turkey or aubergine as the main.


HAVARATI SCALLOPED SWEET POTATOES

{This is small party size and serves about 5-6 people}

6 medium to large sweet potatoes, sliced thin with skin

12 oz Castello Havarati Aged cheese, grated

1 cup heavy cream

6 T butter, melted and cooled

1 egg

2 tsp chili flakes, or more as desired

olive oil, salt and pepper as needed

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Whisk together the cream, butter and egg. Season with salt and pepper.

Prepare a baking tray large enough to hold all the potato in three to four layers.

Spread olive oil on the bottom and slides, so the slices don't stick.

Arrange one layer of sweet potatoes in an overlapping fashion.

Pour about a third of the cream-butter mixture to wet the layer. 

Drizzle the chili flakes and then sprinkle grated cheese generously.

Repeat for 2-3 more layers finishing with potatoes and no remaining cream.

Prepare the final layer with sprinkled chili and remaining cheese.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Increase heat to 400 F, remove cover and finish browning the top layer, about 10 minutes.

Cool for a touch and serve.


This post is collaboration with Castello Cheese. As always, the images, opinion, original recipe and story are mine. Thank you for supporting the sponsors of Fork Spoon Knife.