Potatoes Au Gratin

5          Lbs. Idaho Baking Potatoes

6          Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

4          Tablespoons All Purpose Flour

2          Cups Whole Milk, Heated

2          Cups Half and Half, Heated

1/4      Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

2          Teaspoons Sea Salt

1          Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

4          Large Egg Yolks Lightly Beaten

6          Ounces Grated Cheddar Cheese

6          Ounces Grated Monterrey Jack Cheese

Buttered Bread Crumbs, Recipe Below

For the Potatoes

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place potatoes on a sheet pan lined with foil. Prick the potatoes in several places (this keeps them from exploding) and bake the potatoes until just done, 45 – 60 minutes. Cool completely then refrigerate potatoes for several hours. Once refrigerated and cold, remove the skins from the potatoes and slice into 1/2″ thick slices. (The cooler the potatoes the easier it is to peel and slice. If you try to do this when they are hot or warm they will fall apart.)

For the Sauce

In a large heavy pan, melt the butter over medium heat until bubbly. Add the flour and cook for a few minutes stirring continuously to get the raw taste of the flour out. Slowly add the warm milk and half and half whisking continuously. Add salt, pepper and cayenne. Bring to a slow boil and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes, always whisking. Remove from heat and stir in beaten eggs until combined. Add cheese and stir to combine. Bring to room temperature. (It is easier to put the dish together when the cheese sauce is at room temperature.)

To Finish the Dish

Spray a 9”x13” baking dish with PAM for baking. Put a layer of sauce on the bottom and begin layering with potatoes and the rest of the sauce. Top with sauce and sprinkle on buttered breadcrumbs. You can put this together the day before. Bring to room temperature before baking.

Preheat oven to 350°F and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, uncovered, or until hot and bubbly and the breadcrumbs are nicely browned.

To see if the potatoes are really hot in the middle, stick a knife in the middle and hold there for 30 seconds. If the knife comes out hot the dish is done. If the breadcrumbs are beginning to get too brown cover the dish loosely with foil.

Buttered Bread Crumbs
1          Stick Unsalted Butter, Melted
2          Cups Panko Bread Crumbs
1          Teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt                                                                                                         1/2      Teaspoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Mix all ingredients together