I think of so many little things to tell you off and on throughout the day, but then I sit down to write them out and am brought up short by the disturbing realization that either all my great thoughts were really half-baked bits of crazy or they’re all insufferably mundane, and then I’m left slouching here on the green couch, my sliver of cake eaten, my cup of coffee only just barely sipped at, and with no idea how to get you to the point where I want to take you which is, in today’s case, these potatoes and onions.
Ha! I did it! I got you passed the car wreck on 64E, the birthday evening, a sappy tirade about belly dance and how it’s changed my self-image (kind of), me screaming PIANO IS A BYPRODUCT at my 11-year-old son, the extensive fort construction that’s going on down in the field, my profound thoughts on eternity and clean rooms, a cute sock monkey, my monumental paradigm shifts about money, and brought you skidding—uuuurch!—to a halt right where I wanted you to be. Aren’t I amazing?
Nah, I’m really not that great. But these potatoes? Oh my. They smote me over the head with their luscious deliciousness, so much so that I couldn’t even gather my wits enough to write about them. Until now, that is. Now I’m setting to, organizing my priorities, writing out the facts so that all may partake in the experience of being smitten.
I write about these potatoes not only because they are delicious (are they ever) but also because they are so so easy to prepare. It’s not even really a recipe, more of a technique, but boy, is it ever one heck of a technique! I’m keeping this Tater Technique stuck in my belt so it’ll always be right on hand, ready to be whipped out at the least provocation.
So, what you do is this. Wash a bunch of potatoes and peel a couple onions—about four parts potato to one part onion. Thinly slice the potatoes (I used my mandoline), and even thinlier slice the onions. In a greased baking dish, make a layer of potatoes followed by a layer of onions, a hearty grind of pepper, a flurry of salt, and some thin slivers of butter. Repeat till there are no more onions and potatoes left. Cover the pan with foil and bake in a hot oven until the potatoes are fork-tender. Remove the foil and sprinkle some freshly grated Parmesan cheese over top. Bake for another 10 minutes or so.
While the pan is in the oven, this is what happens: the butter and salt soak into the potatoes, the onions soften and sweeten, the cheese bubbles and browns, and the house smells like someone cares. It’s really quite the transformation. (Especially after living on pancakes, eggs, granola and oatmeal for three days.)
For a quick Saturday night supper, serve the potatoes and onions as the main dish with green beans and applesauce. And jealously guard the leftovers—they’ll go mighty fine with your breakfast eggs.
Potatoes and Onions
Adapted from Mama Pea over at A Home Grown Journal
The proportions are just guesstimates. I never bothered to measure.
8-10 cups of potatoes, washed, unpeeled, and thinly sliced
2-3 cups onions, peeled, halved, and very thinly sliced
6-8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into thin slices
salt and pepper
½ – 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Place a layer of potatoes in the bottom of a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Layer on some onions. Dot with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat layers till all the potatoes and onions are used up. Finish with a final dotting of butter and sprinkling of S&P. Cover the potatoes with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Remove the foil and sprinkle the potatoes with the cheese. Bake for another 10 minutes or so. Serve hot.
This same time, years previous: red raspberry-rhubarb pie