Pommes Anna

Ok, I’ll admit it.  I was pretty intimidated by this recipe and probably wouldn’t have considered trying it if not for two things.  First, Cook’s Illustrated has a beautiful picture of it in The America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook.  And second, I have been looking for ways to experiment with my brand new mandoline in my own test kitchen.  I’m definitely glad I tried it, but I wouldn’t step foot near this recipe without a lean, mean, slicing machine.  Hats off to anyone who does.

I’ve helped you cross the first hurdle by giving you my own pics that show how stunning this dish is.  If you have a mandoline, then you’re ready to go.  If not, then this is reason enough to buy one.  If you need a little enticing, Russell’s words may get you going, “This is one for company,” which is really about the best compliment a dish can get as far as I’m concerned.

But this isn’t just picturesque by any stretch of the imagination, these potatoes are a culinary delight.  The outer layer of potato slices is nice and crispy, and the inner layers are perfectly tender with a taste of butter.  And not just a crown of potato mush, each slice maintains its own identity, giving this dish a unique texture that makes mouths happy.

Pommes Anna Recipe  Makes about 5 servings.

adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons canola oil
salt
cracked black paper

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Toss potato slices with melted butter in large bowl until potatoes are evenly coated.
  3. Pour oil into 8″ cast iron skillet, and set over medium-low heat.
  4. Begin timing and arrange potato slices in skillet, using nicest slices to form bottom layer.  To start, place one slice in center of skillet.
  5. Overlap more slices in circle around center slice, then form another circle of overlapping slices to cover pan bottom.
  6. Sprinkle evenly with scant 1/4 teaspoon salt and cracked black pepper.
  7. Arrange second layer of potatoes, working in opposite direction of first layer.  Sprinkle evenly with scant 1/4 teaspoon salt and cracked black pepper.
  8. Repeat, layering potatoes in opposite directions and sprinkling with salt and pepper, until no slices remain.
  9. Continue to cook over medium-low heat until 30 minutes elapse from time you began arranging potatoes in skillet.
  10. Press potatoes down firmly to compact.  Cover skillet with aluminum foil and place in oven.
  11. Bake until potatoes begin to soften, about 15 minutes.
  12. Uncover and continue to bake until potatoes are tender and edge of potatoes near skillet is browned, about 10 minutes.
  13. Drain off excess fat from potatoes.
  14. Loosen potatoes from skillet with knife.  Flip over onto serving dish.
  15. Cut into wedges and serve.

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3 Responses to “Pommes Anna”

  1. justine says:

    I like how special this looks. It wold be great for a dinner party!

  2. Mine never turn out so perfectly… stellar job on those potatoes… and the photo is wonderful!

  3. Michelle says:

    Oh my gosh. I used to make this when I was first married, but I had forgotten all about it until I saw your photo on Tastespotting. It is such a delicious dish… how could I have not made it in so long? Thanks for the reminder!

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