Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Before you get started making this you should know that a few things are essential to make this correctly. The first thing you will need is a mandoline so that you can make even and thin slices of potatoes. This also saves a lot of time, but the thickness is really the more important aspect here. The second thing that you will need to make this correctly is clarified butter. Normally I would write about how to make this, but I just don't have the time right now to be honest. That said, you can get away with regular butter, but the end product just wont be the same.
Now you might wonder why I am fussy about keeping the potatoes underwater, but there is a reason. This keep the potatoes and the slices from browning, which makes for a much better presentation, and it removes starch from the slices to make for a more firm texture. I also need to mention that you shouldn't use all the butter for this recipe unless it is needed. (I had about two tablespoons leftover when I made this.)
2 1/2 to 3 pounds russet potatoes
Scant 1/2 cup clarified butter
Coarse kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
10 inch cast iron skillet
1. Prepare two large bowls of cold water and soak the potatoes in one of them.
2. Peel the potatoes one at a time and drop them into the other bowl of water once they're peeled.
3. Once all the potatoes are peeled and in the water, pour out the water from the empty bowl and refill with cold water and preheat the oven to 425F.
4. Slice the potatoes on a mandoline set to 1/8 an inch and let them drop into the new bowl of water. Once all of the potatoes are sliced, thoroughly drain the slices and pat them dry with some paper towels.
5. Brush the bottom of the pan with the butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add one single layer of potato slices and then brush these slices with more butter on top. Add another layer of potato slices and continue layering with butter, salt, and pepper.
6. When the pommes anna is done being assembled, put the pan over high heat until you can hear the potatoes frying. Remove the pan from the stove and bake the pommes anna in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Let the dish cool for 10 minutes.
7. Place a sheet pan on top of the pan and then invert on release the potato cake. Cut the cake into eight pieces and serve immediately.