1 large yellow onion
1/2 cup butter
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled (or not, or partially peeled)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
3/4 cup half-and-half

To prepare the onion, cut it in half lengthwise from stem to root end. Trim off stem and root ends and peel. Place onion halves on a cutting board, cut-sides down, and slice into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cut each half-ring in half again. Cut enough onion pieces to measure 2 cups.

Place prepared onion with the butter in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Cook onion in butter until it softens and turns a pale gold, about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to low.

Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into 2- to 3-inch pieces of fairly uniform size for even cooking. Place them in a large pot with enough water to cover. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt. Bring water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

While potatoes are cooking, add the half-and-half to butter-and-onion mixture and bring it just to a boil. Turn off heat and set mixture aside.

When potatoes are tender, drain well into a colander. Return potatoes to pot and mash with a potato masher. Add remaining salt and continue mashing to mix in salt. Stir in most of hot cream, butter and onions and combine. Potatoes may seem too thin at this point, but you'll notice they soon thicken. Add additional cream/butter to reach desired consistency and additional salt, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

VARIATIONS: Other things to stir into your potatoes include grilled corn kernels, roasted peppers, roasted garlic cloves, smoky bacon, blue cheese and extra-aged Gouda.