WARNING -If you’re on a low carb diet, look away now. Don’t eat this! If you figure you’re gonna die of something then you might as well die from this dish.
Pommes Anna (Anna’s potatoes in English) is a classic French dish of sliced, layered potatoes cooked in a melted butter. Carbs + Butter, remember, I gave you fair warning. To help with the carb and calorie load I use Olive Oil misting spray. It gives a light coating of oil on each layer which is what you want. If you brush the oil on the potatoes you don’t get as even a coating and you use more butter/oil resulting in an oily dish. Also, this is not that simple of a recipe despite what you read! It seems simple enough, just slice potatoes, layer them in a pan with butter and salt, put in the oven and ignore for 30 minutes. The trick, however, is getting that nice crispy top and little crispy edges. It will be good even if you don’t get the crispy top but the crispy top adds a beautiful crunch to your meal.
There are a myriad of recipes on the internet, in cookbooks and magazines for Pommes Anna as it has been around for a few centuries. According to Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking the dish was invented by a chef in the Napolean Era in the 19th Century and named, as were many dishes in those days, after one of the well known whores of the period. Another version of its history proclaims it originated in 19th-century Paris when Adolphe Dugléré, chef of the Café Anglais, created it for his favorite customer, the celebrated courtesan Anna Deslions. You will also find these potatoes around the world. We found them when we were in Argentina but they were called “Torta de Papa.”
Regardless of the history or locale, you will need a heavy bottom, oven-proof, non-stick frying pan for this dish. Although not necessary, there are special copper “Pommes Anna pans” available from fancy specialty cookware shops for anywhere from $137 to $400. Some people use cast iron pans but I find them too heavy to flip. Instead, I use a 9″ Caphalon non-stick sauté pan because it’s large enough to serve 6 – 8 servings yet light enough to flip inside down to serve these beautiful potatoes crust side up. Although not necessary, to assist in removing the potatoes from the pan and flipping for presentation you can line your pan with heavy duty aluminum foil and build the dish on top of the foil. As you can see, they make a beautiful presentation and everyone will oooh and aahh when you serve dinner.
- 3 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes
- 2 Tbsp butter
- Olive Oil Misting Spray
- Sea Salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- garlic powder
- 1/3 cup garlic chives, sliced
Get out your trusty mandoline slicer for this recipe. Unless you have excellent knife skills don’t bother trying to slice this many potato slices this thin.
Peel and slice the potatoes. You want the slices to be anywhere from 1/16 – 1/8 inch thick. Slice the potatoes 1 at a time. Place the slices on a sheet pan lined with a sheet or two of paper towels. When you fill the sheet pan with slices, add another sheet or two of paper towels on top and blot removing any excess water from the potatoes. Make the next layer of slices again covering with paper towels and blotting. Continue this process until all of the potatoes have been slice. Following this process accomplishes 2 things. First, it dries the potatoes which allows the starch of the potato slices to adhere to each other and bind the dish together. Second, drying and covering the potatoes slows the oxidation process so the potatoes don’t turn brown.
Once you hace sliced all of the potatoes brush your 9 inch pan with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Build the first layer by placing the slices in in an overlapping concentric circle, spray with olive oil misting spray and season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and a light dusting of garlic powder. Build the next payer in the same fashion, except on the second layer and every layer thereafter until the top, add the chopped chives.
When you get to the last layer, cover with parchment paper.
Then with foil
Place a heavy oven proof pot on top of the aluminum foil to weigh down the potato. We have a cast iron comal which works beautifully.
Place pan over medium high heat for 5 minutes. This will help make a nice crispy crust. Place in a preheated 425 F oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until a knife easily pierces the center of the potatoes.
Remove from oven and take off foil and parchment paper.
Invert and sprinkle chopped chives on top.
Serve and enjoy.
NOTES: As an option you can substitute sweet potatoes for the Yukon gold or you can use a combination of the two alternating a layer of yukon gold with sweet potato. It’s a nice change of pace.