this flavor happens to be my favorite one. it’s super garlicky, and super fresh tasting from the basil, and i’m pretty sure i could eat a whole block of it in one sitting.
i’m not sure why, but i’ve been really craving cheesy and potatoey things lately. like, giant bowls of carbs with cheese oozing out of them. i may or may not have made tater tots from scratch in the middle of the night last week and then eaten the entire batch at once. that’s normal, right?
so… when i was thinking about what kind of flavors to pair this garlic basil cheese with, scalloped potatoes seemed like a really good idea. the potatoes are hearty and starchy, and the combination of half and half and cheese makes them super rich and creamy. and all that heaviness balances perfectly with the bright basil flavor that is very present throughout – both in the cheese and freshly chopped. then the cheese on top makes for a partially crispy, partially gooey crust that adds the perfect amount of texture. put it all together, and that makes an amazingly comforting side dish that packs a huge punch of flavor.
Garlic Basil Scalloped Potatoes
1½ cups half and half
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the back of a knife
1 bay leaf
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and sliced very thin (use a mandolin slicer if you’ve got one)
over medium heat, heat the half and half, garlic, and bay leaf in a medium pot. add a pinch of salt and pepper, lower the heat to low, and let the pot simmer for 5 minutes. use a slotted spoon to remove the bay leaf and garlic cloves.
spray an 8×8-inch baking pan with nonstick spray and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
pour about ¼ cup of the cream into the bottom of the dish. next, put down a layer of potato slices (slightly overlapping), then about 2 tablespoons of chopped basil. top the basil with about 2 tablespoons of the grated cheese, and sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper over everything. repeat this layering process–cream, potatoes, basil, cheese, salt, and pepper–at least two more times, until you have used up all of the potatoes. you should be left with at least a couple tablespoons of cheese, which you should save for broiling later.
put the baking dish into the oven and bake it for 35-40 minutes, until the potatoes are completely cooked through and the top is golden. put the rest of your cheese over the top, then put the dish under the broiler for another 5 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and brown.
serve immediately with more fresh basil over the top.