With its origins at the iconic Delmonico’s Restaurant in 19th century New York, Potatoes Delmonico is a dish steeped in culinary history. This lavish preparation of creamy, tender potatoes baked with cheese encapsulates the elegance and innovation that defined fine dining at the time.
At the heart of Potatoes Delmonico is a harmony of simple ingredients transformed into comforting, rich perfection. Thin slices of potato are layered with a silky sauce blending heavy cream, butter, and cheese to create a palate-pleasing contrast of crisp and creamy.
The key to excellence lies in the technique – potatoes sliced precisely to a translucent thinness, a béchamel sauce cooked to a luxurious velvet finish, flavors married in the oven’s gentle heat. When plated and garnished with a sprinkle of fresh herb, the aromatic dish reveals itself as so much more than the sum of its parts.
While the original Potatoes Delmonico showcased the lavishness of old New York with its 14 courses and diamond-studded clientele, the recipe has endured as a celebration of flavor and cooking finesse.
Preparing the dish involves care and artistry – brushing each potato slice just so with sauce, applying each velvety layer with reverence. Alongside the refinement comes possibility for personalization, as spices, herbs, and cheese selections let home chefs put their own spin on the classic.
Far beyond a standard side dish, Potatoes Delmonico represent the joys of spending time in the kitchen to create something wonderful. In every luscious forkful lies the pleasure of slow, soulful cooking and the connection and delight that food brings.
This is a recipe to savor, to serve those you cherish, and to channel the spirit of culinary history into your own kitchen’s warmth and aroma. Potatoes Delmonico are a taste of old world decadence that still feel luxuriously new.
What makes the sauce for Potatoes Delmonico so creamy and luxurious?
The velvety texture comes from the blend of heavy cream, butter, and cheese. The starch from the potatoes also helps thicken the sauce as it bakes.
What is the best way to slice the potatoes for this recipe?
Using a mandoline slicer or very sharp knife, cut the potatoes into thin, uniform slices about 1/8 inch thick. This ensures even cooking.
How do you keep the layers of potatoes from getting soggy?
Pat the potato slices dry before layering, don’t oversauce, and allow the dish to rest before serving so the sauce can thicken.
Can I prep this dish in advance?
Yes! Assemble the entire dish up until baking, then cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours before baking. Add 10-15 minutes to the baking time.
What sides go well with Potatoes Delmonico?
It’s delicious on its own but pairs nicely with steamed vegetables, a fresh salad, or crusty bread. A crisp white wine or sparkling cider makes a lovely accompaniment.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- 2 1⁄2 pounds Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced paper-thin
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1⁄2 cup breadcrumbs
- Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. The oven should be fully preheated before baking.
- Slice potatoes into translucently thin rounds using a mandoline slicer or a very sharp knife. Aim for a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Thinner slices will cook faster and more evenly. Rinse the slices in cold water to remove excess starch. Pat thoroughly dry with paper towels or a clean dishcloth before assembling.
- Make velvety sauce:
- In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter over medium heat. Once melted, add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
- Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and whisk vigorously to form a smooth roux. Continue cooking the roux for 2 minutes, whisking constantly to avoid any lumps.
- Gradually whisk in the milk and heavy cream until fully incorporated. Season with salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.
- Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer, whisking frequently. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until the sauce thickens to a velvety, coat-the-back-of-spoon consistency. Remove from heat.
- Assemble layered masterpiece in a buttered baking dish:
- Use 1 tablespoon of butter to generously grease a 2-quart shallow baking dish. This allows for a large surface area for crispy, cheesy topping.
- Arrange a single, even layer of potato slices over the bottom of the dish. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Ladle 1/3 of the hot sauce evenly over the potato layer. Spread to completely coat each slice.
- Sprinkle 1/3 of the grated Parmesan cheese over the sauced potatoes.
- Build another layer of potato slices and repeat the process, using half the remaining sauce and cheese.
- Top with a final layer of potatoes, the last of the sauce, and a generous sprinkling of Parmesan and breadcrumbs.
- Bake uncovered for 60-75 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender and the top is bubbling and golden brown. If topping browns too quickly, loosely tent foil over the dish.
- Let the dish rest for 10 minutes before serving. This allows the sauce to thicken and lets the layers settle, ensuring clean, elegant slices.
- Garnish with chopped fresh parsley. The green brightens the creamy dish. Serve warm.
- Use a mandoline for uniform potato slices
- Keep roux on the thinner side to avoid a gluey sauce
- Shallow dish ensures even browning and crisp top
- Test doneness by easily inserting a knife through potatoes
- Resting allows sauce to settle for clean, elegant plating