Potatoes with caramelised onions and melting cheese

Potatoes with caramelised onions and melting cheese

Batatas à murro com cebola e queijo fundido

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This is a simple but lovely dish that combines three absolute Portuguese favourites: potatoes, onions and cheese. If you can’t find queijo da Serra cheese, try Époisses, Stinking Bishop or Mont d’Or, or even grated Gruyère. If you happen to get hold of queijo da Serra, you may just want to increase the amount, depending how much you love stinky, melting cheese. I sometimes eat a whole bowl of this, accompanied by nothing more than a glass of wine.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
400g potatoes, skin on, such as Maris Piper or similar
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
sherry vinegar, to taste (optional)
80g queijo da serra, or another full-flavoured soft cheese
sea salt flakes
ground white pepper
cracked black pepper

Method

  1. Cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling salted water until tender. Remove, drain and allow to cool slightly. Preheat the oven to 220°C. When the potatoes are cool to touch, smash them lightly with your fist. Put them in an ovenproof dish with the garlic and bay leaf, pour 2 tablespoons of the olive oil on top and stir to ensure they are thoroughly coated. Season with salt and white pepper and bake for 20–25 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a pan over a low heat, then add the onions and season with salt and white pepper. Cook gently for about 10–15 minutes, or until very soft and translucent. To speed up the cooking process you can cover the onions with a cartouche. Create a cartouche by folding a square of baking parchment to make a thin triangle. Holding the triangle with the thin point over the centre of the pan, cut the other end off so that is slightly longer than the radius of the pan. Unfold it, crumple it and dampen it lightly with water, then place it on top of the onions and cover with a lid. When it’s ready, try squeezing a piece of onion; it should be very soft and taste sweet. Increase the heat and let the onions caramelise and turn golden brown, stirring to stop them sticking. Remove the cartouche and set aside. Add a splash of sherry vinegar for a little bit of acidity that cuts through the cheese, if you like.
  3. Take the potatoes out of the oven and scatter the onions and spoon or scatter the cheese on top. Return the dish to the oven and cook until golden brown and bubbling. Remove from the oven and serve straight away. I love to sprinkle a little cracked black pepper on top while it’s hot.
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