With the new potatoes coming out of the ground this time of year and fresh onions from the garden, plus thyme from your herb garden.
This recipe is just the perfect combination of ingredients that make up a fabulous, simple gratin. Gratin, by the way does not necessarily refer to a cheese topping, although that is how it is most often thought of in America! This is wonderful to serve with any main dish or as a light supper with a simple salad or sliced tomatoes.
Red Potatoes and Red Onion Gratin
2 pounds potatoes, about equal size
3 medium red onions
1/4 cup plus two tablespoons light olive oil
2-3 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Peel the potatoes and slice them 1/4-inch thick into a bowl with plenty of cold water. Keep them covered by one inch of water, changing the water as it becomes starchy. The number of changes depends on the potatoes; three or four times is usual.
Peel the onions and slice them 1/4-inch thick. Cook them in 3 tablespoons olive oil with 2 to 3 sprigs of thyme, over very low heat. Cover the pan, but stir occasionally. The onions should be sweet, slightly softened, and because of the steam effect of keeping the pan covered, still crunchy after 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Rinse the potatoes in a colander and pat them very dry between tea towels. Toss them in the remaining olive oil.
Layer a lightly oiled shallow 2-3 quart earthenware casserole with potatoes, slightly overlapping them in concentric circles, and salt and pepper lightly. Remove the thyme from the onions and discard it. Strew some of the onions lightly over the layer of potatoes. Continue layering the onions and potatoes, ending with a layer of potatoes.
Dot with 3 tablespoons butter. Bake in a preheated 425 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are a deep golden brown.