|Day 6 - Pommes Anna|
Here is a dish that's beguiled* me for some time. Pommes Anna is a French potato gratin made of thinly sliced salted potatoes, bathed and baked in butter so as to form a cripsy potato cake. How purely wonderful does that sound? I like potatoes in all forms – boiled, roasted, smashed, fried, etc – but the simplicity of this dish struck a cord.
|Pommes Anna - yes, that is a potato heart.|
Bit o' History: Remember how I said this dish left me all spellbound* and whatnot? As it turns out, so the did the woman for whom this dish was named. During the time of Napoleon III, chef Adolphe Dugléré was working as the leading chef of Café Anglais - the hippest Parisian restuarant of the 19th-century. It was named, like many culinary triumphs in those days, after one of the grandes cocottes of the period. Grandes cocottes? Yes, whores. The actual Anna is not entirely known, though many speculate between actress Dame Judic (real name Anna Damiens), or Anna DesLions.
To make Pommes Anna, simply peel 2-3 large russet potatoes and slice 1/4-inch thick. Layer the potatoes in a cast-iron skillet, glass pie plate or a Pommes Anna copper pan, if you have one. Sprinkle each layer lightly with salt. In the meantime, melt 3-5 tablespoons of Earth Balance buttery vegan spread, or similar product, in a small pot. Once melted, pour the buttery spread over the potatoes. Cover and bake at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake an additional 20-30 minutes, until potatoes are soft and outer crust is golden-brown. Serve immediately on a warm plate and enjoy!
|Pommes Anna garnished with black pepper and basil|