Potatoes and butter. That’s it. Well, and salt and pepper. But my, oh my, these French potatoes are special! Adding salt and butter between each layer of potatoes is the key to flavorful, melt-in-your mouth potatoes. The recipe is easy to make, just takes a little time to arrange the potato slices in overlapping circles in the skillet. Making sure the slices are overlapping is important for ensuring the potatoes keep their ‘cake’ form when you flip them onto a plate.
Pommes Anna (Potatoes)
Active time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Need: a mandoline slicer or food processor
2 ¾ pounds (1 ¼ kilos) russet potatoes (firm-fleshed potatoes)
12 tablespoons (175 g) unsalted butter to be clarified
-or use ½ cup melted clarified butter
Salt & pepper
Clarify the butter: Heat the butter over medium-low heat in a small saucepan until it melts
completely. Do not stir! Skim off the white foam that rises to the top. Once melted, turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. The white sediment should be at the bottom with a golden layer of liquid on top. Gently pour the golden liquid into a bowl and discard the white sediment (not in the sink, it hardens). Set aside.
Rinse and peel the potatoes. Do not rinse after peeling (you need the starch). Using a mandoline slicer (careful of your fingers!) or a food processor, slice the potatoes thinly (2-3 mm / ¼-inch maximum).
In a 9- or 10-inch skillet that can go in the oven, pour about 1 tablespoon of the clarified butter. Place one potato slice in the middle. Arrange the potato slices in overlapping circles around the first slice (like a flower) until the bottom of the pan is covered. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour or brush about a teaspoon of butter over the first layer.
Repeat until you have used up all the potatoes - around 4-5 layers. Make sure
to salt, pepper and pour a little butter after each layer (including the last one).
Preheat the oven to 430° F (220° C). Place the skillet on the stovetop over high heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes until it sizzles. Place in lower third of the oven and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes. When the top starts to brown, about 40 minutes into the cook time, cover loosely with aluminum foil.
Remove from oven. I gently pour a little of the butter out of the skillet. Let cool slightly then
use a spatula to loosen the edges of the potatoes from the skillet. Place a serving plate over the skillet and holding the two together, quickly flip them over to invert the potatoes onto the plate. If the potatoes are not golden enough, flip them back into the skillet and cook over high heat on the stovetop for 2-3 minutes. Cut in wedges and use a spatula to serve. The potatoes can be made ahead and reheated in the oven for 20 minutes at 350° F (175° C).
And bon appétit!