Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pommes Anna

Pommes Anna: It's a Classic for a Great Reason
Recently, I think it was Saveur that published a list of 100 classic dishes, 95 or more of which I have already cooked in my life. In talking about them with Ann, I realized there are a lot that she hasn't had. And Pommes Anna is one that she has been asking me to make for a few weeks.

This is one of those classic dishes that is so, so much more than the sum of its three ingredients: potatoes, salt, and butter. In going back and making this classic dish, even my jaded palate recognizes how special this dish is and why it is such a classic. One taste of this dish, that I haven't made at home in 20 years, is enough to make me remember why this is the best potato dish ever invented.

Three Ingredients: Salt, Potatoes, Butter!
For making this dish, there is actually a special and gorgeous copper Pommes Anna cocotte that I have seen for sale in New York and Paris for hundreds and hundreds of dollars. But nothing really beats my old school cast iron frying pan. I have made dozens and dozens of Pommes Anna in my life, always in cast iron, never in copper. And, I'm not shelling out many hundreds of dollars for a specialty pan!

If you want to try this at home, and you should experience the epiphany before you die, Julia Child has the best step-by-step recipe you'll ever find in her "Mastering..." but I forget whether it is volume one or two. I learned from this recipe 30 years ago and have passed the technique on to dozens of cooks since. You should add this classic to your repertoire.

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