Anne Callison found a way to incorporate cotija, a flavorful Mexican cheese that she discovered in a specialty cheese shop, into a warm potato side dish. Cotija is available in some well-stocked supermarkets and in Latino markets. If you can't find it, substitute a shredded firm white cheese such as white cheddar or jack.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion (8 oz.), peeled, halved, and thinly slivered lengthwise
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 3/4 pounds firm-ripe Roma tomatoes, rinsed, cored, and chopped
1/2 to 1 tablespoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 pounds russet potatoes
2 cups crumbled cotija cheese (8 oz.; see notes)
How to Make It
Pour oil into a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium heat. When oil is hot, add onion and garlic and stir frequently until onion is limp, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, hot sauce, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir occasionally until tomatoes are soft, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel potatoes and slice 1/8 inch thick. In a 9- by 13-inch baking pan, layer about a third of the tomato mixture, followed by half the potatoes and half the cheese. Repeat layers, ending with tomatoes. Cover tightly with foil.
Bake in a 400° regular or convection oven until potatoes are tender when pierced, 40 to 50 minutes. Uncover and bake until browned on top and bubbling around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes longer.