Thanksgiving and Idaho Potatoes- Potato, Apple and Onion Gratin

Can it be a gratin without cheese? I don’t know, but it can certainly be Thanksgiving without cheese. I figure with the all the heavy things on the plate, potatoes is one area where we can lighten the load. This potato no-gratin is made sweet and seasonal with apples and caramelized onions. Plus there’s butter. Of course there’s butter. That’s rich enough for me. Potato, Apple and Onion Gratin.

I think a big reason this gratin works so well without cheese is the potatoes I chose– a variety known as Klondike Rose.

This variety of potato was introduced to me while I was in Idaho for the potato harvest. A guest of Idaho Potatoes. I have been looking for a way to highlight the Klondike Rose with its beautiful rose-colored skin and gold-colored flesh ever since I returned. The color combo sorta reminds me of a juicy red apple. So that is where I started. I partnered these potatoes with nice tart red apples. After that red onions seemed to make sense too.

Red Potatoes. Red Apples. Red Onions. Can you see where I’m going with this?

As I said, this is a gratin. So I immediately started considering Red Cheese. The only red cheese I could come up with was Edam. Which seems like a good choice. But truthfully Edam is not red cheese. It’s white cheese wrapped in red wax. Could I put wax in my gratin just to follow a theme? Well maybe…

Fortunately once I tasted the Klondike Rose potato I realized that maybe this gratin didn’t need a whole lot of cheese. Heck, maybe it didn’t need any cheese at all. Red or otherwise. Because the Klondike Rose potato has a smooth and buttery texture.

So today, the third day in my weeklong tribute to everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving side dish– the potato. I bring you this light, but seasonally flavorful cheeseless potato no-gratin. GREG

Red Potato. Red Apple. Red Onion. This is my Red to Remember entry on Spinach Tiger’s remembrance of World Aids Day.

You can see my previous contributions here:

Oysters in Red Mignonette

Red Beet Fusilli

Klondike Rose PotatoesPotato, Apple and Onion Gratin serves 6 CLICK here for a printable recipe

  • 6 T unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 1 lb red onions, peeled, halved & sliced
  • 1 T chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 3 t kosher salt, divided
  • 1/3 c water
  • 1/3 c dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 lb klondike rose, or similar idaho potatoes, sliced into 1/4‑inch rounds
  • 1 lb tart red apples (such as granny smith, pippin, or pink lady), peeled, halved, cored, cut into 1/4‑inch-thick slices
  • 1/2 t freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 c dried bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onions, rosemary, and 2 teaspoons salt; sauté until onions are tender and begin to caramelize, about 20 minutes. Pour in water and wine to de-glaze the pan. Let the liquid come to a boil. Remove from heat, let cool about 5 minutes.

Place the potatoes, apples, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, pepper and cooled onion mixture in a large bowl; toss gently to combine. Transfer to 13 x 9 x 2‑inch baking dish, spreading evenly. Cover dish with parchment paper, then cover with foil, shiny side down. Bake gratin until potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes.

Remove from oven, uncover and dollop the remaining butter on top of the gratin. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake until top browns and juices bubble thickly, about 20 minutes longer. Can be made 6 hours ahead. Let stand uncovered at room temperature. Rewarm, loosely covered with foil, in 300 degree F oven for 20 minutes. Let gratin stand 15 minutes before serving.

Note: I see no reason to peel the potatoes or apples, but you may if you prefer. But they won’t be red. Or rose.