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Pommes Anna
¾ c
(11| 2 sticks) high-quality unsalted European-style butter
3 lb
russet potatoes
Kosher salt
Pommes Anna

Pommes Anna is as impressive today as it undoubtedly was on Auguste Escoffier’s table more than a hundred years ago. Nothing quite highlights the versatility of a humble tuber more poignantly than this classic three-ingredient beauty that is rich, fancy, and perfect for your next dinner party. The trick to a successful Pommes Anna flip (the moment the brown and bubbly crown comes into view) is patience. Cook the potatoes on one side until the natural starches “glue” the layers together and a shake of the pan doesn’t jiggle or dislodge any of the slices. That’s when you flip, and it’s the moment of truth.

Recipe from Food IQ: 100 Food Questions, Answers, and Recipes to Raise Your Cooking Smarts

6 servings

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Select a 10-inch heavy-bottomed sauté or cast-iron pan with a tight- fitting lid. Place over medium heat and add the butter, and heat until the butter melts and just begins to bubble. Pour off nearly all of the melted butter into a small bowl, leaving just a thin layer on the pan bottom. Reserve the melted butter.
  3. Using a mandoline (see page 60) ideally, or a chef’s knife, slice the unpeeled potatoes into thin (about 3/16-inch-thick) rounds. Starting from the edge of the pan, arrange a layer of the potato rounds, overlapping them slightly and moving toward the center in a spiral pattern, until the entire surface is covered. When the layer is complete, brush it with a healthy wash of the melted butter and sprinkle with 3|4 teaspoon salt. Continue adding layers of potato slices, topping each with butter and salt, until you’ve exhausted your supply of potatoes. Depending on how tightly you’ve spiraled each layer, you will end up with between three and five layers. Finish with a final brushing of butter and sprinkle of salt.
  4. Heat the pan over medium-high heat, gently shaking it from time to time, until the juices start to bubble through to the top, about 10 minutes. A telltale aroma of toasting potatoes will start to blanket your kitchen.
  5. Cover the pan and bake for 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to the stove top, remove the lid, and give the pan a shake while looking for movement between the slices. The potatoes are ready to flip when the slices have glued themselves together, forming a loaf. Ideally, the entire loaf has come unstuck on its own. If it hasn’t, using a small, flexible spatula, gently loosen the sides and bottom from the pan.
  6. Invert a large, flat plate over the pan and, holding the plate and pan firmly, invert the pan and plate together, then lift off the pan. Slide the potatoes back into the pan, place over medium-high heat, and cook until the underside is beautifully golden brown, about 10 minutes.
  7. Depending on which side is more beautiful, slide the potatoes from the pan onto a serving plate or invert the potatoes onto the plate. Cut into wedges to serve.