Scalloped Potatoes
  1. Peel potatoes, rinse in cold water and set aside. Rub a large casserole or baking dish all over with a split clove of garlic; discard garlic. Thinly slice a few of the potatoes – a mandolin or food processor is very helpful for this. Don't rinse the slices or hold them in cold water, though, as you want the slices to be starchy.
  2. Place a single layer of potatoes on the bottom of the casserole so they are slightly overlapping. Sprinkle potatoes with salt, pepper and a tablespoon or two of the melted butter. Repeat this step, slicing potatoes as needed, until potatoes are used up or casserole is nearly full. (Note successive layers don't need to be neatly arranged. Leave at least 1⁄4" of space below the top of the casserole.
  3. Heat the bechamel and mix it with the cream. Pour about half over the potatoes. Gently shake the casserole several seconds, until the sauce settles around the potatoes toward the bottom. Pour in the rest. The sauce and potatoes should together fill the casserole to the top, and the sauce should coat the top layer of potatoes. Sprinkle the top with the parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake in a medium oven (350°) until potatoes are completely soft when tested with sharp knife, and the sauce is set and does not jiggle when the casserole is shaken. (More than one hour). Let potatoes cool 15 to 30 minutes, covered loosely with foil, before serving.