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What are Delmonico Potatoes?

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  • Written By: Jennifer Voight
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2016
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Delmonico potatoes are a side dish created in the 1830s by an unknown chef at Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City. The exact recipe is not known, but traditionally combines shredded white potatoes, milk, cream, grated parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and is baked in a gratin dish until golden. This closely resembles a recipe published in 1912 by one of the original Delmonico’s chefs. The Delmonico potato recipe became famous and was recreated in restaurants and in homes across the United States.

By the late 19th century, there were already many variations of Delmonico potatoes recipes appearing in published cookbooks of the era. Throughout the 20th century, variations of the recipe continued to be popular. Modern variations on Delmonico potatoes may call for shredded or diced potatoes, onions, flour, butter, rice, or cheddar cheese, many of which were not contained in the original recipe.

Delmonico’s restaurant opened in 1827 when John and Peter Delmonico, brothers originally from Switzerland, opened a pastry in New York City. They expanded and changed the shop to a restaurant offering French food in 1830. Delmonico’s became one of the first full service restaurants in the United States.

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The Delmonico brothers patterned their restaurant after the French who offer individual items from a menu instead of requiring that all patrons eat whatever meal was prepared. The restaurant was considered the first fine dining establishment in the U.S. and became renowned for serving European recipes. The restaurant was also known for its attention to detail.

Several chefs worked for Delmonico’s in the 19th century, any of whom may have developed the recipe for Delmonico potatoes. Peter Delmonico originally did all the cooking while John managed the restaurant. In 1831, their nephew, Lorenzo Delmonico, joined and stayed with the restaurant for the rest of his career, eventually managing it after John’s death. In 1837, John Lux joined the restaurant as head chef. The earliest menu from 1838 offered pommes de terre a la maitre d'hotel, or fricasseed potatoes, possibly the original Delmonico potatoes.

Alessandro Filippini joined Delmonico’s in 1849 and is believed to have created the recipe for Delmonico steak. He published several cookbooks. The International Table, published in 1912, contained a recipe for Delmonico potatoes. Charles Ranhofer took over in 1862, too late to have been the creator of Delmonico potatoes. He is known for having created baked Alaska, lobster Newburg, and chicken a la king.

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SteamLouis
Post 3

@turkay-- I didn't think about hash browns when I read this article, but potato dauphinois and potato au gratin. The only difference is that these two are made with sliced potatoes, not shredded. And potato dauphinois is made with garlic and potato au gratin usually with onion.

Otherwise, they're basically the same thing as Delmonico potatoes- creamy, oven baked potatoes. I wonder if all these recipes came out around the same time? Or if the chefs at Delmonico took any inspiration from these dishes or perhaps the other way around?

Anyway, they all taste really good. I personally don't care who came up with it first!

burcidi
Post 2

@turkay1-- Yea, it's way better than hash browns. It's creamy, not dry and is full of flavor.

Even though I wouldn't consider hash browns and Delmonico similar, I do sometimes use frozen hash browns to make Delmonico potatoes. It's a time saver when I don't want to deal with peeling and shredding potatoes.

It takes my Delmonico potatoes about an hour and forty-five minutes to bake and I bake at 325 degrees. It might seem like a long time, but the preparation time is like 2 minutes if you have all the ingredients ready to go. Because you just mix everything and put it in a casserole dish and that's it. I think it's super easy and so tasty. This is my favorite potato dish for Christmas.

candyquilt
Post 1

I don't think I've ever had Delmonico potatoes but they sound really good. They actually sound like hash browns. Do they taste similar?

I'm sure they're even better because there is cheese and butter in it, and it's made in the oven. I make hash brown on the stove, it's good but pretty basic.

How long does it take for Delmonico potatoes to cook in the oven? Does it take really long?

Is it possible to cook Delmonico potatoes in the microwave? That would much easier for me.

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