From bacon-wrapped volcano potatoes to delicious cheesy potato mash, it would appear that the humble spud always needs a touch of innovative creativity and a variety of ingredients to become a mouthwatering dish. Yet, Pommes Anna, a classic French side dish, is proof that not every potato dish needs a lot of ingredients to be a showstopper. Only two ingredients are needed to make this traditional and elegant dish, plus salt and pepper, and some finesse.
And don’t be fooled by its rather short ingredient list. Pommes Anna was dubbed the “supreme potato recipe of all time,” according to Julia Child. Now, if that doesn’t speak volumes, we don’t know what will.
What Is Pommes Anna?
Pommes Anna or Anna potatoes is a classic French side dish of thinly sliced layered potatoes cooked in a heavenly amount of butter. Although the ingredients of butter and potatoes may not sound remarkable, the way in which Pommes Anna is prepared sets it apart from everything else.
Pommes Anna, similar to potatoes au gratin, is prepared with thinly sliced potato medallions layered and baked together. Unlike a gratin, however, Potato Anna does not contain cream or cheese. It’s the potatoes themselves dripping with butter that really steal the show.
Further, the potatoes are arranged in overlapping concentric circles, revealing a stunning display when flipped onto a platter. As a result, Pommes Anna becomes a potato cake marvel with golden brown crispy-like shingles and a fork-tender buttery center. It’s no wonder Julia Child was smitten with this savory masterpiece.
But, how exactly do you prepare it? It only takes potatoes and butter to make this showstopper. And, perhaps an oven-safe nonstick skillet, such as a carbon steel pan, which has all of the benefits of cast iron without the drawbacks.
With the ideal pan, you’re guaranteed to get those brown and crunchy edges that make Pommes Annas so swoon-worthy.
Pommes Anna Recipe
- 2 large Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1/4 cup unsalted clarified butter
- salt and white pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. With a mandoline, thinly slice the potatoes to about 1/8 inch thick. As you cut, place the slices in a bowl of cold water to prevent discoloration. Before assembly, pat the potato slices dry with paper towels.
- Over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a well-seasoned oven-safe nonstick skillet. In a circular pattern, layer the potato slices starting at the center and working your way outwards, covering the bottom layer of the pan. Brush with butter and season with salt and white pepper to taste.
- Continue layering two more times, brushing with butter between each layer and seasoning in between. Cook at medium-high heat for five minutes or until the bottom begins to brown.
- Shake the pan gently to check whether the potato cake is sticking to the bottom. Cover the pan with parchment paper or tin foil and place it in the oven for a further 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the cover and cook the potatoes for 5 to 10 minutes more or until they’re tender.
- From the oven, gently invert the Pommes Anna onto a serving platter. Try running a knife around the edges and using a spatula to loosen the cake from the pan if it won’t come loose. Once the cake has been transferred, slice into wedges. Enjoy!