Jim Baily | The Yankee Chef: The flavor of loaded potatoes, texture of classic Duchess spuds

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Golden, cheesy and, with that hint of ham, simply a great addition to your dinner table. The flavor of loaded potatoes, the texture of classic Duchess spuds and the look of slab pie. Did I mention easy as well? Using leftover mashed potato is also perfect in this preparation.

Duchess Gratin Potato Slab

INGREDIENTS:

Nonstick cooking spray

3 egg whites, room temperature

3 cups cooked, mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, cooled *

Melted butter to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup milk

2 ounces capicola ham, sliced thin, see NOTE

4 thick slices provolone cheese

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

DIRECTIONS:

Spray an 8-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.

In large mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form using an electric mixer; set aside.

In another large bowl, add potatoes, butter, salt and pepper to taste, garlic powder and milk. With an electric mixer, beat until as smooth as possible. Fold the beaten egg whites into the potato mixture until fully incorporated.

Spread half the potato mixture into prepared pan. Lay the ham on top, followed by cheese and then the rest of the potato mixture. Sprinkle bread crumbs over everything and bake 35-40 minutes, or until topping is crisp and just starting to brown. Remove from oven to serve immediately.

Enough for 5-6 servings

* It is simply too hard to judge how many individual potatoes you would need, but it will amount to about 2 1/2 pounds ... if that helps you. And no, they don't have to be Yukon Gold potatoes, use any potato you love the most. I used them because of their vibrant color.

Note: I use capicola ham because it has the perfect Italian spiciness that boosts the flavor of this recipe. Use whatever ham you desire, but I think once you have tasted capicola, you will be enjoying it more often.


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