Monday, August 15, 2016

Cooking Experiment #1: Potato with a Fancy Name

I decided to take a week off in the middle of summer just to get some rest at home. When we told others about the plan, or rather a "non-plan" of doing nothing, many seemed surprised that we were not travelling anywhere. Well, it’s not exactly a week of “doing nothing”, but I have decided to take this week for some cooking experiments at home.

First one I did was not exactly an experiment per se, but re-working on something I have tried earlier. The dish has a fancy French name, Pommes Anna, which was essentially a mille-feuille of potatoes with butter and baked in the oven. I had this lovely potato dish at Belon in Soho a couple months back – we were simply blown away by such simple dish of thin slices of potatoes stacked in a pan and baked, served as a side dish to the equally impressive roast chicken. So I decided to do the same at home, and this recipe is based on my second try (the first one turned out to be okay but there was room for improvement). With a mandoline this is extremely easy to make, and made perfect side dish to any main course, or as a simple lunch entree.

Recipe: Pommes Anna (makes 6-inch pan or serves 4)

  • 3 medium size russet potatoes
  • 0.5 cup of butter, melted and clarified (1 stick)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Peel the potatoes, dry with a kitchen towel, then use a mandoline, cut the potatoes into paper-thin slices of 1.5-2mm thick. (alternatively, yes you could use your kitchen knife to cut, but to be honest, it’s a real pain)
2. Use kitchen towel to dry the potato slices as best as you can without breaking them.
3. In a small cast iron pan or oven-proof pan, brush the bottom and side with butter, then in a circle, place the slices potatoes in overlapping pattern until the entire pan was covered (you will need to make 2 circles in order to cover the entire pan) Brush butter and sprinkle a generous amount of salt on top of the potatoes, then repeat with another layer. (don’t forget to brush with butter and sprinkles with salt after each layer)
4. In the meantime, pre-heat oven to 190C. After all the potatoes were placed in the pan, use a heavy (and oven-safe) object to place on top to weight down the potato slices, and put the pan in the oven to bake for 20 minutes.
5. Remove the weight on top and continue to bake for another 40 minutes until a toothpick come down in the center without any effort, and the top was well-baked with crust. (total baking time of one hour)
6. It can be served immediately, or reheat by putting in the oven at 190C for 10-20 minutes if you choose to keep that in the refrigerator and serve later.

No comments :