Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pommes de Terre Anna

An oldie but a goodie from Larousse Gastronomique, I've rediscovered this as a great way of turning out deliciously crisp potatoes. My research has told me that the original dish - a large layered potato cake cooked in heaps of clarified butter - was created for the 19th century Parisian courtesan, Anna Deslions, by chef Adolphe Dugléré at the Cafe Anglais. All I can say is that Anna must have been doing some serious 'exercise' to work that butter off. This version is truncated and adapted to make it easier to do at home and somewhat friendlier on the arteries. Two large potatoes will make about 6-7 individual serves as pictured here. I use unwashed sebago potatoes.

Preheat the oven to 180C (fan forced). Peel the potatoes and slice into thin rounds - you can use a mandolin if you have one but a sharp knife will do just as well. In a bowl add the potatoes, a tablespoon of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss with your fingers separating all the slices so they are all coated with oil. In a non stick muffin tin, pile the slices into the holes and press down.

Add a teaspoon of cold butter to the top of each one and bake for one hour (I've tried it with just oil and the result is not as good. You do need that little bit of butter to produce the crisp burnished look at the edges). About half way through, remove them from the oven and press down gently with a small spatula or the back of a spoon to compact them slightly, then return to the oven. The resulting potatoes with be rich and crisp on the outside with a creamy interior. Serve them top side up for a rustic look or upside down for a more uniform rounded base. I usually make at least double the recipe because I've found no one can resist just ... one ... more.

8 Comments:

Anonymous jules said...

these look amazing reb...was looking for a different take on roast spuds for christmas lunch...will give these a go..

hope you have a lovely christmas

12:59 PM  
Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said...

yum. love the idea of using a muffin tin to bake them.

first time i made a huge potato anna cake it was a brilliant success. second time i made them - total disaster. argh! third time lucky i hope!

3:26 PM  
Blogger neil said...

Nice work saving our waistlines. I'v had a couple of goes at making these and they have finished up a bit like the curate's egg.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Reb said...

hi jules -you have a great XMas too! They'd be great with turkey.

Individual = more crispy bits Helen. You can never have too much of that!

... good in parts Neil? These ones turn out pretty well for em so maybe they'll work for u too

7:31 AM  
Blogger shaz said...

hi there. really nice looking blog you got here. I added your blog as a link on mine. Hope you dun mind. Merry Christmas! Shaz, a foodie blogger from Singapore.

2:14 AM  
Anonymous Ellie said...

These look wonderful, and a great new way for me to try making potatoes!

I hope you had a great holiday season surrounded by loved ones :)

11:54 AM  
Blogger Reb said...

Thanks Shaz - I don't mind at all thanks for linking me in!

Thanks Ellie - and the best holiday wishes for you too!

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Rebecca. I love the sound (and looks) of your potatoes Anna in the non-stick muffin tins.

Here in San Francisco CA, I have an ordinary (non-convection) oven, which reads in Fahrenheit. Can you advise how to translate your cooking instructions (180C fan forced)to my situation?

Thanks in advance --

Roberta

rcmundie@gmail.com

3:34 PM  

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