Pommes Anna – Crunchy on the outside, soft and delicious inside. Everything a potato was meant to be.
This classic French recipe, made with just four ingredients – potatoes, butter, salt and pepper – will wow your friends and family and make them think you slaved hours in the kitchen, when all you really did was run a few potatoes though the thin slicing blade of the food processor, layer them in a skillet with butter, salt and pepper, bake them in the oven and then flip it over onto a plate.
I still haven’t gotten the flip part down perfectly – probably because my cast iron pan still isn’t seasoned well enough – and parts of the top still stick. But I’m getting there.
Named for one of the great coquettes of the court of Napoleon II, the classic gratin dish is made in a very expensive special lidded copper pan. But Julia Child recommends a cast iron skillet, and who am I to question Julia? If you want a flatter gratin, you can weigh down the potatoes using a second pan set atop for the first half of your cooking time. To make the Anna as pretty as possible get potatoes that are of equal dimensions, longer than they are wide, and if using a food processor to slice them, of a small enough diameter to fit into the tube of the food processor.
- About 3 pounds of Russet potatoes, peeled or Yukon gold potatoes, un-peeled
- 1 stick butter, melted
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan.
- Slice potatoes 1/8 inch thick using the thin blade of food processor or a mandoline. Do not place them in water, you need the starch to get them to stick together when baking.
- Place the pan on the stovetop over moderate heat and brush it generously with butter. Arrange the potatoes in concentric overlapping circles, staring in the middle of the pan, and having each circle running the opposite direction of the previous one. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper . Working quickly, continue layering in this way until the potatoes are all used, brushing the layers with butter and seasoning with salt and pepper.
- By now the butter should be sizzling. Transfer to oven and bake until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 50-60 mins.
- Remove from oven. Loosen by running a small spatula around edges of potatoes, and if the potatoes are sticking, slide large spatula underneath to loosen them. Invert the potatoes onto a plate, and cut into wedges to serve.
More Pommes Anna
- Martha Stewart shows you how (excellent video)
- Emeril uses a non stick pan and doesn’t flip his Anna
- Mini Pommes Annas baked in muffin pans.
- Anne Burrell makes her Anna with olive oil and some Parmesan.
- The Life of Spice makes Cook’s Illustrated’s Anna. Gorgeous!
- Sweet Potatoes Anna. OMG.
- Bowen Appetit makes a gorgeous Anna ala Julia Child.
- Gâteau de pommes Anna aux cèpes – an Anna with a mushroom filling. Video in French.
- Cooking Light’s Anna cuts way back on the butter and it still looks gorgeous.