This is a fantastic vegetable for entertaining because it can be made up to a day in advance and reheated.
You can use raw onions but I have found a better flavour by frying them in a little butter until softened.
Simply layer potatoes, onion, seasoning and herbs, finishing with a layer of potatoes. Pour over stock and milk.
Cover the potatoes in a layer of foil and Bake in the oven 180 degrees for 1 hour. Check to make sure the potatoes are tender and if they still feel hard when you insert a knife – pop them back into the oven to cook for a further half hour.
If you want to serve straight away – remove the foil from the potatoes once cooked, scatter over the parmesan cheese and bake for a further 25 minutes until brown and crispy on the top.
If you want to prepare ahead :
Take from the oven, remove the foil and lay over a piece of baking paper. Pop a baking sheet, or loose bottom from a square cake tin over the paper to weigh the potatoes down, pop a weight on the top then allow to go completely cold. When completely cold, remove the weight, tin and paper and you will see the potatoes look quite grey and unappealing. Grate a little parmesan over, cut into squares, transfer to a baking sheet and reheat for 15-20 minutes (at 200 degrees) and the potatoes will be browned, bubbling and tasting absolutely delicious.
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