Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Scalloped Potatoes with Dandelion Greens and Bacon

I never made scalloped potatoes until I lived in the Midwest where people unabashedly love potatoes and think of them as a separate food group. Mashed, boiled, baked or scalloped, all are equally loved and consumed.

In some ways, scalloped potatoes are kind of old fashioned; they traditionally include cream, cheese and butter, creating a delicious but definitely not a low-fat dish. But when I was searching for items to serve at the co-op "hot food bar" in Minnesota, I knew scalloped potatoes would be a hit. I made two versions, one with ham and one with kale. Meat eaters appreciated the extra flavor of the ham and customers who needed to believe that they were getting something healthy along with the layers of creamy cheesy potatoes felt virtuous eating the kale version. Everyone was happy!

This version is a happy marriage of the two; dandelion greens sauteed with crisp bacon make this a one pot meal. While you can easily substitute the dandelion greens for kale or Swiss chard, if you use dandelion make sure it is fresh since this already bitter green goes south quickly after sitting in the refrigerator for a few days, rendering it nearly inedible!

Scalloped Potatoes with Dandelion Greens and Bacon

1 large bunch dandelion greens, washed and chopped
4 strips bacon, minced
2 lbs red or yukon potatoes, sliced as thin as possible
1 cup monterey jack cheese, grated or similar cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated, or similar cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, cut into bits

Preheat oven to 350. In skillet cook bacon over medium heat until bacon is almost crisp. Add washed greens with water still sticking to it and cook until wilted. In large baking dish assemble dish by first layering one layer of potatoes (about half of potatoes), slightly overlapping. Sprinkle 1/2 of greens mixture over potatoes, and then sprinkle 1/3 of each set of cheese. Layer more potatoes and remaining greens mixture. Cover with cheeses and dot with butter pieces. Add salt to milk and stir well to dissolve. Pour milk into bottom of pan and tilt to cover bottom. Cover baking dish with cover if you have one or with foil, and crimp edges to create as tight a seal as possible (I was house sitting when I made this and I improvised by placing a cookie sheet on top of the pan and placing an oven proof pot cover on top to weigh it down, worked beautifully!) Bake for 30 minutes and then remove cover and bake another 10 minutes to allow cheese to brown. Allow to rest five minutes and serve. Good hot or cold, reheats well either in microwave or wrapped in foil in 250 degree oven.



Toni said...

Never tried dandelion greens, but this dish may give me reason too.

The Food Hunter said...

very interesting...I've never had dandelion greens.

Sophie said...

I so love this tasty dish!!

I also love dandelion greens!