(Pommes Anna) You say potato…
To my way of thinking, there is no more versatile root vegetable out there than the potato (pomme d’ terre, if you’re hung up on French as the language of food). French fries, potato chips, baked potatoes (loaded or not), au gratin, roasted, boiled – the list goes on and on. During a recent culinary Boot Camp at The Chopping Block, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, I was introduced to Pommes Anna by our chef instructor, Chef Max Hull (@maxjhull). With a potato or two on hand, and looking for something a little different, I pulled out the recipe for Pommes Anna and gave it a whirl. Few potato dishes are easier, or more adaptable, and as a friend has noted, “The effort to flavor ratio is quite nice!” Let’s run with it!
1/2 cup clarified butter, a/k/a ghee (or grape seed oil, especially if you’ve got a vegan in your audience)
4 russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
I small onion, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 deg.
Heat a 10-inch nonstick saute pan or skillet over medium-low heat and add 3 Tbsp clarified butter (or oil)
Arrange a thin layer of sliced potatoes in the pan, overlapping slightly. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle lightly with butter (oil), and top with a layer of onions.
Repeat, layering until all of the ingredients have been added, ending with potatoes.
Cook, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes on the bottom are golden brown and crisp.
Remove from the heat and cover the pan with a plat that’s just larger than the pan. Invert the potatoes onto the plate, then slide them back into the pan so that the golden brown side is now up.
Place the pan wight into the oven and continue to cook until the potatoes are tender when tested with a paring knife.
Carefully slide the potatoes onto a cutting board if you’re going to cut into wedges, or only a serving platter if you’re going to present them in their full glory (remembering how hard and carefully you worked to arrange them in the pan).
This dish is very suseptible to garnishes and toppings that evoke other potatoes dishes. Think loaded baked potato, with cheese, bacon, chives, and sour cream; think au gratin with a creamy cheese sauce; think a crispy cheese top by putting cheese on them while still in the pan in the oven, let it melt and get crisp. Best of all, enjoy!!!