“The potato, like man, was not meant to dwell alone.” – NY Times food columnist, Sheila Hibben
Potatoes aren’t the first food that comes to mind when you think “romance”. I mean, you can’t dip a potato in chocolate. BUT- when the potato is elevated by adding it’s soul mate, butter, then things start to get a little more amorous. Which leads us to the traditional French side dish, Pommes Annas.
Legend says the dish is named for one of the coquettes of Paris in the late 19th century. Leave it to the French to make potatoes sexy.
Pommes Annas has 4 ingredients: potatoes, butter, salt and pepper. The thinly sliced potatoes get layered in a pan and baked, forming a “cake” of delicious buttery potatoes. A sexy coquette inspired potato dish seemed perfect for our Valentine’s dinner.
Step one is to peel and thinly slice the potatoes.
The sliced potatoes now get layered in your pan. The classic French method uses a special copper pan, which of course I am without. (Feel free to remedy that, Handsome Husband) But, an ovenproof skillet is a common substitute and that I did have. A little melted butter goes in the pan and the potatoes get layered in pretty circles with some salt and pepper.
The pan goes over heat to start forming a “crust” on the bottom layer of potatoes. The remaining melted butter gets poured over the layered potatoes:
The potato cake cooks on the stove top for several minutes, pressing down to help the cake form and shaking occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the pan. Although, I don’t know how anything could stick to a pan that has 8 tablespoons of butter in it….
After sauteing and pressing down for 10 minutes or so, cover the whole thing, and into the oven it goes:
Every once in a while, I’d reach in and shake the pan again, just to make sure the potatoes weren’t sticking. Again…there was a lot of butter in there. But wouldn’t you know it….
So much for the power of 8 tablespoons of butter. I don’t even have a picture of the “pommes annas” (quotes intentional) because it was basically a pile of buttered potato slices. Not terribly sexy.
UNFORESEEN BONUS: Although a failure by French standards, this recipe still yeilded a pile of buttery potoatoes. And who doesn’t like buttery potatoes? Not moi. We ate them all with our Valentine’s fondue.
So, my apologies to the coquette Anna (whoever you are) for ruining your potato namesake. Some of us just don’t have that same j’nes se quoi.
xoxo Flyover Foodie