Tender Crispy Potatoes Anna by Anna

When I got my first cookbook at the age of about 8 for Christmas I found a recipe for Potatoes Anna. At the time I had never heard of Potatoes Anna, I only knew that any recipe that shared my name and contained potatoes MUST be delicious!

Well, the recipe in the “Boys and Girls Cookbook” is good, but of course, the instructions are adapted so children can easily create the dish. The actual method for making this incredible potato cake originated with the French and is easy but a tad bit time consuming. The French call it “Pommes Anna.”

The best thing about this elegant side dish…you can make it early in the day and reheat it before serving. Well, maybe that’s the second best thing. The BEST thing about it is…it’s only 2 ingredients, potatoes and butter! Carbs and fat. Love and marriage.

Look at these golden crispy layers of potato.

And inside the potatoes are tender and creamy. Mmmmm-mmm-mmm.

Be sure to use good quality butter that has been clarified. You can also use ghee. Clarifying butter removes the milk solids so it has a higher smoke point, which prevents the bottom of the potatoes from burning as you’re layering them. Here is our recipe for Clarified Butter.

Potatoes Anna are a Gr8 side dish to beef or pork. Try Jurga’s recipe for Grilled Beef Tenderloin or my Crown Roast of Pork.

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Anna's Tender Crispy Potatoes Anna

This can be made early in the day and reheated when ready to serve. See instructions at the end of the recipe.
You can use more or fewer potatoes and a larger or smaller pan to adjust the servings.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Potatoes Anna
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Anna

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
  • About 8 Tablespoons clarified butter or ghee
  • Salt & pepper

Equipment Needed

  • 9" to 10" oven-proof skillet with a lid,, or you can use foil as a cover
  • Mandolin or food processor with a 1/8" slicing blade,, or maybe you're really good at slicing food thin!

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 400°F.
  • Line a baking sheet with 2 layers of paper towels or a flour sack dishtowel. Have extra paper towels or flour sack dishtowels available.
  • Peel and slice one potato into 1/8" to 1/16" slices. Lay the slices in a single flat layer on the lined baking sheet and cover with more paper towels or dishtowel. Continue with the rest of the potatoes until all the potatoes are sliced and drying on the towels. Cover the last layer with toweling. See Gr8 Tip.
  • Heat 2 Tablespoons of the clarified butter in the bottom of your skillet over medium-low heat.
  • Starting in the middle of pan lay one slice of potato. Then continue making circles of potato slices around the center slice. Slightly overlap each slice so you can't see the bottom of the pan. 
  • When you've finished with the first layer. Brush on some of the clarified butter then lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Make a second layer the same as the first, then butter, salt and pepper. Continue making the layers until all the potatoes are used up. 
  • As you are creating the layers, shake the pan slightly to ensure that the potatoes are not sticking to the bottom.
  • When all the potatoes are layered, butter a piece of foil and lay on top of pan. Put a slightly smaller, heavy pan on top of the foil and press down to compact the "cake."
  • Remove the heavy pan and foil, cover and place the skillet of potatoes on a baking sheet in the oven for 20 minutes. (The baking sheet will catch any butter that spatters from the pan.) If your pan doesn't have a lid, use foil.
  • Uncover and cook for 20 to 25 more minutes, or until potatoes are tender and golden brown.
  • Carefully drain off any excess butter. 
  • Run a thin spatula between the edge of the potatoes and the pan to loosen, then slide the spatula under the potatoes to make sure they are loose. 
  • Lay a serving plate upside down on top of the skillet and very carefully flip the potatoes onto the platter. Careful, it's hot!
  • If any pieces of potato stick to the bottom of the pan, scrape them up and lay them on top of the cake. If your potatoes don't come out looking nice, you can use Julia Child's trick below.

Notes

Gr8 Do Ahead Tip:
Potatoes Anna can be made early in the day. Once the dish is completely cooked, invert the potatoes onto a plate, and cool slightly. Return the potatoes to the pan, cover and refrigerate. About 45 minutes before serving remove the potatoes from the fridge and set aside to take the chill off. Heat oven to 350°F. Put the skillet with the potatoes into the oven to reheat and crisp up, about 20 minutes. Invert onto a serving plate and enjoy!
Gr8 Tip:
Immediately layering the potatoes on towels as you're slicing them accomplishes 2 things: 1) the potato slices dry; and, 2) keeping them covered inhibits the browning process that occurs when raw potato hits air. Do not immerse the potato slices in water as that will leach the starch from them; and the starch is needed to create the creamy interior of the Potatoes Anna.
Julia Child's Gr8 Tip for Pretty Potatoes Anna:
If your potatoes fall apart when you flip them onto the serving plate, simply top with some grated cheese, Gruyère or Swiss work well, and slide back into the oven until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Voilá! Cheesy Potatoes Anna!
Tried this recipe?Mention @Great8Friends or tag #gr8food!

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