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.