Another simple, savory side dish that graced my Thanksgiving table. I already told you about the celery root and hazelnut purée, and I guess as non-traditional as I am I secretly wanted some nice, classic potatoes along with everything else. I’d never heard of pommes Anna but saw a recipe for mini pommes Anna in one of the latest issues of Bon Appétit. I wanted to cut down on active cooking time since I had so many things to prepare that day, so I made mine more traditionally in a small baking dish. I was even able to peel and slice the potatoes a couple days ahead, storing them in a bowl of cold water (thank you for the tip, internship!). The potatoes are sliced very thin, so this dish cooks up quickly and requires very little prep time once the potatoes are done.
This is basically a lighter, simpler version of the classic French gratin dauphinois. While the dauphinois requires large amounts of crème fraîche, this calls for some butter and herbs (so it’s not exactly healthy, but definitely lower in calories!). The taste of the potatoes is set off by the salt, butter and herbs and remains refreshingly simple. This is just potatoes, crisped and flavored just enough and presented beautifully. Not that I have anything against mashed potatoes, but if you’re looking for an occasional replacement, then this dish is for you.
Pommes Anna with fresh herbs
1 1/2 lbs potatoes
1/4 C butter
2 cloves of garlic (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh herbs (rosemary and thyme, for example)
This couldn’t be simpler. Preheat your oven to 350°. Peel the potatoes and slice as thin as possible using a mandolin or by hand. Discard the rounded ends and smaller pieces or save them for soup or mashed potatoes. Toss the potato slices with salt and pepper and reserve.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan with the herbs and garlic if using, cooking over low heat for 5-7 minutes and infusing the butter.
Grease a small baking dish with butter. Arrange the potato slices in a layer on the bottom of your baking dish and brush the tops with the melted butter, making sure to get some herbs on them as well. Continue arranging potatoes in single layers and brushing with butter, pressing them down each time to form a fairly compact mass of potatoes. Add additional salt and pepper every couple of layers if needed.
If possible, use a heat-proof plate or pie weights to anchor down the potatoes (this should help to make them into a cut-able galette instead of just a bunch of sliced potatoes like mine turned out to be). Cover with aluminum foil and cook for about 25 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking 10-25 minutes longer, until potatoes are golden brown and pierce easily with a fork.