Readers of my previous post will know that I won a copy of Marcella Says from Pesto Princess, now this is a big-girl-panty type of book…..there are very few photographs, none of which feature the food. Marcella is a doyen of Italian cooking and you can tell she is old school, no short cuts here!
This is not fancy cooking, it’s honest cooking, Marcella says “ I am never bored by a good old dish and I wouldn’t shrink from making something that I first made fifty years ago and my mother, perhaps, fifty years before then.” I like her style!
Marcella however, doesn’t seem to have gone metric, luckily my digital scale can do pounds and ounces.
3 lbs onions (9 medium onions)
black pepper ground fresh from the mill
3 TBSP oil
3 or 4 medium unpeeled potatoes (potatoes tend to be much larger in Europe so I used 10 smaller ones)
2 TBSP butter cut into cubes
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 TSP chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley (optional)
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
Peel your onions *sob* and cut them in half like so….
Onions, sliced and ready for the oven
You will notice that there is a cross cut into each half, Kippy here didn’t read the recipe properly, the cross is not meant to go right to the edge of the onion, just make an incision that doesn’t go through to the bottom of the onion and not to the edge either (duh!).
Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and ground pepper, bake for about an hour, until they are soft to the touch.
Remove any stiff or charred layers but don’t worry about a little charring (see photo), it all adds to the taste.
Place in a colander over another bowl and leave for at least 2 hours to drain, I left mine overnight.
Drain the onions in a colander over another bowl to catch the liquid
The onions must then be placed in a food processor & chopped, Marcella didn’t say if they should be processed to a pulp, I decided to go with a more rustic texture.
Chopped 'rustic' onions
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and drop your potatoes in (do not peel them)
Boil until a sharp knife will go through the potato with ease.
Drain and peel whilst as hot as you can bear it!
Pop into your potato ricer, if you haven’t got one, do yourself a favour, I bought mine at Boardmans for R89.00 and I haven’t had lumpy mash since.
Potatoes about to be 'riced'
Now at this point Marcella goes on about mashing the potatoes and double boilers, I don’t possess such a beast, and it seemed to me that it was really all about mashing the potatoes in a warm environment, so I boiled a bit of water in a large pan, drained it, and added the riced potatoes, the butter, the cheese and finally the onions.Season to taste.
Potatoes, butter and parmesan
I served this very simply with fillet steaks and spinach, it was absolutely awesome! My daughter-in-law Mel and her pal Bronwyn sampled some when they were visiting and they loved it, I have been instructed to put it on the Christmas menu.
Mashed Potatoes with Baked Onions
By the way, don’t throw away the liquid from draining the onions, it’s pure onion nectar, I used some in a marinade and I’m going to try some in a salad dressing.
The drained onion elixir
Yikes this post has taken me forever, I’m sure I will get used to the new Word Press platform in time, meanwhile I am off to hunt for the blog home page and all my foodie friends……hellooooo…..where are you guys?!