I grew up in Nova Scotia and spent years in Toronto before ending up in Vancouver. You don’t see the regional differences until you move further and further west. Victorian houses morph into open-concept spaces laden with glass and metal. My sense of tradition is challenged. I learned that there was more than one way to make a tea biscuit or ‘traditional’ tourtiere. Also, manners in the west are more laissez-faire. People are wearing yoga pants to the theatre, and an affirmative RSVP seemed to indicate that people ‘might’ attend a dinner party. Regional differences aside, I really take pride in knowing how to host a beautiful dinner party.
When you’re out east, potato scallop is a diet staple. With ham, turkey or on it’s own, there is no denying the comfort factor. It can be prepared in kid-friendly individual ramekins for the little ones.
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for broiling
(We also like to puree cauliflour and ‘hide’ it in the centre to get a few extra veggies into the kids.)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a saucepan, heat up the cream with a sprig of thyme, chopped garlic and nutmeg.
While cream is heating up, butter a casserole dish. Place a layer of potato in an overlapping pattern and season with salt and pepper. Remove cream from heat, then pour a little over the potatoes. Top with some grated Parmesan. Make 2 more layers. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Sprinkle some more Parmesan and broil until cheese browns, about 5 minutes.