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Potatoes Anna

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Potatoes Anna, also called Pommes Anna is a classic French dish of sliced potatoes beautifully arranged and baked in a round skillet our pan. Layered with butter and baked until the edges get crisp, it is a stunning addition worthy of your most special dinner event. Fresh chive blossoms and snipped chives add another element to the gorgeousness of this traditional side dish.

The simple potato is transformed into a crisp, golden cake of thinly sliced, layered potatoes, clarified butter, salt, and pepper.

What is clarified butter?

Butter is what remains after churning cream and removing the water and milk solids from the fat. However, there will still be some water and milk solids remaining in the butter. 

Clarifying butter is a process that removes all the solids and liquids, leaving ONLY the milk fat. It is done by heating the butter which causes it to foam and sputter as the water evaporates and the solids sink to the bottom.  After straining or skimming the foam from the melted butter a clear, golden, clarified butterfat remains.

I remember helping my grandmother make butter in her butter churn.   First, she got up early and helped milk the cows, then poured the milk into a separating machine to remove the cream from the milk.  Most of the cream-free milk went to the little calves while the cream was set aside to take to the creamery. 

Grandma always saved a portion of the cream for the house.  She would let me turn the handle of the butter churn until the cream began to form a big lump of butter.  That left the best tasting buttermilk ever.  Oh, sweet memories!

Cooked potatoes in skillet

Hot and crisp potatoes

What are the benefits of clarified butter?

  • Clarified butter tastes silkier, richer, and has a more intensely creamy, buttery taste. Use clarified butter when you want intense buttery flavor.
  • Clarified butter doesn’t burn as easily as regular butter. The smoke point of regular butter is 350°F.  The smoke point of clarified butter is 450°F.   The higher smoke point is suitable for frying or sautéing.
  • Clarified butter has a long shelf-life. Keep a jar of this liquid gold in your refrigerator for special recipes.   

Why use clarified butter in Potatoes Anna?

Cooking the potatoes in clarified butter lets the pure buttery taste shines in this dish. Also, the high smoke point of the clarified butter prevents the potatoes from burning.

Overhead photo of Potatoes Anna

Potatoes Anna with Chives

Tips and Tricks in making Potatoes Anna:

The secret in making Potatoes Anna is compression!  We are looking for an end result of a thick, crusty, buttery cake of layers and layers of potatoes.   

Crisp potatoes Anna on cake pedestal with fresh chive flowers

 

  • Use starchy potatoes like a Russet or Yukon Gold as the starch helps to bind the potatoes. 
  • Do not soak the potatoes in water after slicing.
  • Cut the potatoes into 1/8-inch slices. 
  • A mandolin works best for uniform slices. The 3mm slicing disc to a food processor also works.
  • Cover the potatoes with foil and place a smaller pan or plate on the foil, press the potatoes firmly. Bake the potatoes for 15-minutes and repeat the compression one more time, then continue baking uncovered until tender.
  • Potatoes Anna or Pommes Anna has only three ingredients, potatoes, butter and seasoning.  You can get creative and add a variety of flavors such as grated cheese, garlic or fresh herbs. 
  • Press down on the potatoes firmly to compact them. 

Garnishes for the potatoes:

Fresh herbs make excellent garnishments for these potatoes Anna.  A few sprigs of rosemary, thyme or tarragon are just some ideas that add a little extra to the presentation.

Pommes Anna with Chives

Pommes Anna with Chives and chive blossoms

We have gussied these potatoes up with fresh chopped chives and chive blossoms which are now blooming in our outdoor pot. These fluffy purple pompom blooms are so pretty and they are edible.  We love to use them in as many dishes as possible during their short bloom season. 

These potatoes are delicious and so pretty.   Your dinner guests will ooh and ahh when they see those golden layers of potatoes. 

Make this dish in advance:

You can prepare and bake the potatoes Anna up to eight hours in advance. After it finishes baking, let it cool completely then cover and refrigerate. When you are ready to serve this elegant potato dish, re-heat it in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes. 

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Crisp potatoes Anna on cake pedestal with fresh chive flowers

Potatoes Anna

Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

The simple potato is transformed into a crisp, golden cake of thinly sliced, layered potatoes,clarified butter, salt and pepper. A garnish of fresh chive blossoms elevates this simple potato dish to a stunning addition on your dinner table.

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2-1/2 lb Russet potatoes, peeled
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh snipped chives
  • Chive flowers for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Spray a 12-inch piece of foil with cooking spray and set aside.

To Clarify the Butter:

  1. Line a small mesh strainer with a coffee filter or cheesecloth, and set the strainer over a Mason jar or dish and set it aside while preparing the clarified butter.
  2. Clarify the butter in a small saucepan by melting it over medium- low heat. Simmer it gently until the foam rises to the top. The water in the butter will cause the butter to sizzle and sputter and foam will begin to rise to the top and the solids will sink to the bottom.
  3. When the sizzling and sputtering stops, remove the pan from the heat and skim off the foam with a spoon.
  4. Carefully pour the melted butter through the cheesecloth-lined strainer into the container, leaving behind any solids from the bottom of the pan.

For the Potatoes:

  1. With a sharp knife or mandolin cut the peeled potatoes into 1/8-inch thin slices.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of the melted clarified butter to the bottom of a 10-inch cast iron or non-stick skillet with sloping sides. Brush the butter over the bottom and sides of the skillet.
  3. Starting in the center of the pan, arrange a layer of potato slices, slightly overlapping in a circular pattern, covering the bottom of the pan. Brush with more butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Continue to build up the layers of potatoes, placing each layer going in the opposite direction; buttering and seasoning each layer until the skillet is full. Drizzle the remaining butter over the top layer of potatoes.
  5. Set the skillet over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes, gently shaking the pan occasionally to prevent potatoes from sticking.
  6. Remove from the heat and cover with the prepared foil, sprayed side down.
  7. Place a smaller pan or plate on top of the foil and press the potatoes.
  8. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15-minutes covered with the foil, then remove the skillet from the oven and compress the potatoes again. After they have been compressed, remove the foil, return the potatoes to the oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are firm-tender and golden brown on top.
  9. Remove from the oven, hold a pot lid or plate over the potatoes to keep the potatoes from falling out and gently tip the skillet over the sink or plate to drain off the excess butter.

To Serve the Potatoes:

  1. Slide a thin spatula around the inside edge of the skillet and underneath the potatoes as gently as possible to loosen the potatoes.
  2. Place a round serving plate upside down over the skillet and grasping the skillet and the plate together flip the skillet over. The potatoes should slide out as a round, compact cake. If any of the slices stick to the bottom, carefully lift them out and place them where they belong on the cake.
  3. Just before serving, garnish the potatoes with the snipped chives and blossoms. To serve slice into pie-shaped wedges.

Notes

  • If using salted butter reduce the additional salt in the layers of potatoes
  • Eight tablespoons of butter will result in about six tablespoons of clarified butter.
  • Use starchy potatoes like a Russet or Yukon Gold as the starch helps to bind the potatoes. Do not soak the potatoes in water after slicing.
  • Cut the potatoes into 1/8-inch slices.
  • A mandolin works best for uniform slices. The 3mm slicing disc to a food processor also works.
  • Cover the potatoes with foil and place a smaller pan or plate on the foil, press the potatoes firmly. Bake the potatoes for 15-minutes and repeat the compression one more time, then continue baking uncovered until tender.

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As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 Slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 240Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 220mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 4g

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Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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John / Kitchen Riffs

Wednesday 10th of July 2019

Such a great dish! Haven't made this in ages, and now you have me hankering after it. :-) Really good post -- thanks.

Pat Nyswonger

Wednesday 10th of July 2019

Thank you, John...This is a show-off dish, serve it with guests. ?

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