Trust the French to come up with a potato cake that is alluringly crisp on the outside and meltingly tender on the inside. Called Pommes Anna, this dish was created during Napoleon III's era and named after one of the lovely women at court. Traditionally made with enough butter to float the Normandie, we've made it with much less, which nonetheless produces a dish so rich and delicious, there's never a crumb left. Slice the potatoes by hand, by mandoline, or in a food processor.
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 pounds peeled baking potatoes, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
Melt 2 1/2 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch cast-iron or ovenproof heavy skillet over medium heat. Arrange a single layer of potato slices, slightly overlapping, in a circular pattern in pan; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt mixture. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon melted butter over potatoes. Repeat the layers 5 times, ending with butter. Press firmly to pack. Cover and bake at 450° for 20 minutes.
Uncover and bake an additional 25 minutes or until potatoes are golden. Loosen edges of potatoes with a spatula. Place a plate upside down on top of pan; invert potatoes onto plate. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.
Very, very good! You need to make sure that you salt and pepper the potatoes thoroughly with each layer and slice them really thin. These come out basically more sophisticated home fries! We make them for fancy meals with beef. There is not a sliver left. If you like your potatoes with gravy though - these aren't for you.
I was a little surprised at the amount of butter in this recipe coming from Cooking Light, but decided to try it anyway. Being a little short of time, I ran the potatoes through a mandoline on the thinnest setting. Layered everything as directed, then cooked for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. (I had something else in the oven that required 350.) After 20 minutes, I removed the lid and increased the heat to 450 degrees; although not as brown as they should have been, they were most certainly cooked through. Both DH and I loved the crispness on the outside and the creaminess of the potato flavor on the inside. Using sea salt if at all possible is a must -- seems to have more flavor than regular salt. Although a bit high in fat content, it is definitely a nice splurge once in awhile.