5 Tips for Making Potatoes Anna, the Most Elegant Holiday Side Dish
A step-by-step guide to the French classic pommes Anna -- one of Martha's favorite potato dishes.
Pommes Anna is a traditional French dish that dates back to the 19th century. It's similar to potato gratin in technique -- it's layered and baked -- but even more minimal. No cream, no cheese, just potatoes and butter. Here, paper-thin slices of potato are joined by another humble tuber, the stalwart sweet potato, and the whole thing is baked in a skillet like an upside-down cake. The resulting dish is crisp and golden on the outside and earthy and tender on the inside. It also makes for a beautiful presentation and is sure to be a scene-stealer at any fall or winter meal. Here's how to get potatoes Anna right every time.
1. USE A MANDOLINE
The Japanese Benriner mandoline slicer (jbprince.com) makes quick work of cutting potatoes and other vegetables into thin, even slices. It's less intimidating and easier to clean and store than a traditional metal mandoline.
2. BEGIN THE LAYERING
Choose the prettiest slices for your first layer of potatoes, as those will be on top when you invert the potato cake. Layer in a spiral fashion.
3. BRUSH WITH MELTED BUTTER
As you assemble alternating layers of Yukon Gold and sweet potatoes, brush each with melted butter for added richness.
4. SEASON GENEROUSLY
Root vegetables can take a lot of salt, so don't be stingy. Add salt and pepper to each layer so every forkful is evenly seasoned.
5. ADD THE FINAL LAYERS
You should have four to five layers when you're done. Plenty of butter and a nonstick skillet make the result very easy to turn out.