Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Crispy Potatoes Anna

Potatoes Anna, or Pommes Anna as they are called in French, is a classic dish of layered potatoes drenched in butter and baked until golden and crispy. These potatoes are one of my dinner party staples. They’re tasty and let the main meal, whether it be beef, pork or poultry, shine. Admittedly, they’re a bit labor intensive but they serve a large crowd, and perhaps best of all, they can be made a day ahead and reheated to an even crispier perfection the day of the party. I’ve modified this dish over the years to use less butter and added a touch of herbs to brighten them up.

Crispy Potatoes Anna
Serves 8
Ingredients
6 extra-large russet potatoes, peeled and sliced very thin
½ cup butter, melted, plus 1 tbls spoon to grease pan
½  tsp. fresh thyme, finely minced
¼ tsp. fresh sage, finely minced
Salt and pepper

Preparation
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Fill large bowl with cold water. Slice potatoes (preferably with a mandolin) and soak them in water for 30 minutes. Grease a 15x10 glass baking dish (4 qt.). Take ¼ of the potatoes from the water and spread out on a dish towel and pat dry with another dish towel or paper towels. Place the potatoes in a single layer, not over lapping, in the pan and then lightly drizzle with butter. (I use a silicone basting brush and dip it into the melted butter and shake it over the potatoes.) Sprinkle with a pinch of the herbs and then generously salt and pepper. Continue with three more layers. If you have more potatoes, add a final layer. Cook for 60 minutes until golden brown. To reheat the next day, take the potatoes out of the refrigerator and bring to room temperature. Cook at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. They should be nice and crispy and golden brown.

Tips and Tidbits
Who is Anna? Some fetching French beauty apparently. According to Wikipeida, the potatoes dish was created during the time of Napoleon the III and was named after one of three courtesans/actresses: Dame Judic (real name: Anna Damiens), Anna DesLions, or Anna Unte. One doubts who ever it was ate much of them!

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