Rubbing garlic on the pan before cooking contributes mellow depth to a rich classic.
Recipes adapted from Callie's Biscuits & Southern Traditions by Carrie Morey. Copyright 2013 by Carrie Morey. Reprinted by permission of Atria Books, a Division of Simon & Schuster
Freshly ground pepper
- Butter a 2-quart casserole dish or enamel-coated cast-iron skillet, then rub with 1 garlic clove. Discard garlic.
- In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine milk, cream, salt, and remaining garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove garlic and discard.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Meanwhile, peel and rinse the potatoes. Pat dry with a paper towel, then cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices.
- Overlap the potatoes in a circular pattern to cover the bottom of the dish. Top with 1/4 cup of the milk mixture, a few grinds of pepper, a sprinkle of salt, and 3/4 cup cheese. Repeat process (reserving 1/2 cup of the cheese) until layers are 1/2 inch from the top of the dish. Pour additional milk mixture up to top of potatoes (you may not need to use all of it). Top with the reserved cheese.
- Place the dish on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until casserole is bubbling, cheese is brown, and a knife easily pierces the potatoes, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 to 12 minutes before serving.