These rich and cheesy potatoes have plenty of flavor from herbs and the browned onions, and can be easily made ahead of time.
Make the mashed potatoes up to three days in advance and add the crumb topping right before baking. If time is short or if you love potato skins (I do), you don't need to peel the potatoes. For an extra oniony crunch, add 1/2 cup prepared fried onions or shallots to the breadcrumb topping.
Swap option: You can use two or three shallots instead of the onion. Yukon gold potatoes can be substituted for the russets. To make this gluten-free, use gluten-free panko. This dish also works with sweet potatoes.
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
- 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 8 ounces grated Gruyère cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1/3 cup dry, unseasoned breadcrumbs, preferably panko
- 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Heat a skillet over medium heat, then add the onion, oil, thyme and a big pinch of salt, and toss well. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the mixture cook, tossing onions occasionally, until they turn brown all over, about 20 to 30 minutes. If the onions start to get too dark, turn down the heat, or if they aren't browning fast enough, raise the heat. Taste and add more salt if needed.2.
Meanwhile, lightly grease a 2-quart gratin dish. Cover potatoes with 1-inch of salted water in a large pot. Boil potatoes until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.3.
Mash potatoes with 4 tablespoons butter, Gruyère, sour cream, salt and pepper. Mash in the onions and parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning. Spread potatoes in prepared dish. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.4.
Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small pot or in the microwave and pour into a small bowl. Stir in breadcrumbs and Parmigiano-Reggiano until coarse crumbs form (crumbs can also be refrigerated for up to 3 days).5.
When ready to cook, heat oven to 400 F. Sprinkle crumbs over top of potato casserole and bake until golden and crisp, 30 to 35 minutes.