pommes anna – I’m writing a new menu

Pommes Anna is such a posh title for this oh-so simple potato dish.

pommes anna  - bite

In my last post I whispered that I was creating a new menu for a local restaurant. A ‘not Italian’ restaurant. I’ve been hired to write a new menu for an established restaurant celebrating local food; food from Atlantic Canada. As soon as the owner called me, before he’d even asked the question, I knew the direction I’d take his kitchen, if I had the chance. Needless to say, I’m thrilled with the opportunity to develop a menu focused on Maritime grub. When I’m traveling, I want to eat food indigenous to the place I’m visiting. In Italy, I don’t look for Chinese food… When I’m home, as much as I crave ethnic food, there are times when I want a plate of my own postal code; just way better then I’d whip up on the fly.

I’ve noticed, for years, an almost apologetic presentation of local dishes in Maritime restaurants. An ‘ah-gosh, that’s the way my grandmother made it’ attitude instead of ‘you lucky bugger, you get to eat a family heirloom!’ Recently, Saint John has attracted a crop of new young chefs eager to prove their culinary mettle by serving up exquisite, completely unapologetic, Maritime cuisine. Executive Chef, Jesse Vergen of Saint John Ale House, was the first to dare a plate of smelt to his eagerly awaiting, local-food deprived guests. Next up was East Coast Bistro’s husband and wife team, Chef Tim Muehlbauer and Chef Kim Steele. They are wowing guests daily with their passion for all things local. Lately to the scene is Chef Jakob Lutes owner of the gorgeous Port City Royal. His menu is limited and changes constantly, but every dish is off the charts! Step by step, we Maritimers are discovering the magic of the food we cut our teeth on. The presentation may be modern but the taste is deep and soulful.

I’ve had a ball working on this menu. Stay tuned…

I made these luscious potatoes the first time in 1984 following the recipe from Julia Child , Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 2. I loved them then. I love them now. Simple elegance using nothing more than a potato and a bit of butter. I’ve strayed a little from Julia’s recipe. I didn’t use clarified butter and I added some fresh thyme and grated parm but it’s not necessary. Typically, you’d use a skillet and make a pie of sorts then slice it to serve. I prefer individual stacks which my ramekins provide perfectly. As long as you use a good food release spray, you’ll have no trouble removing the stacks from your ramekins. If you don’t have any ramekins, you can use a muffin tin with great results. A perfect POMMES ANNA is soft and buttery on the inside and crisp and buttery on the outside so don’t skimp on the butter.

pommes anna - bite

POMMES ANNA
Makes 12 servings

¼ cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
12 Yukon gold potatoes, sliced 1/16 inch thick

pommes anna  - bite
THE STEPS:

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F.

pommes anna - bite

  • Spray 12 – 6 ounce ramekins with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, olive oil, Parmesan, chopped thyme, salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

pommes anna  - bite

  • Add the potato slices and toss gently to coat evenly.
  • Layer the potato slices into stacks in the prepared ramekins, filling until you run out of potato slices.

pommes anna - bite

  • Drizzle the filled ramekins with any remaining butter.
  • Place the filled ramekins on a sturdy baking sheet.
  • Place baking sheet in the preheated oven bake until the potato edges and tops are golden brown and the centers are tender, 45 to 55 minutes.

pommes anna - bite

  • Remove the tray of ramekins from the oven and let them rest for 5 minutes.
  • Carefully remove them with a fork to a serving dish.
  • Sprinkle with thyme leaves, extra Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Serve immediately.

pommes anna  - bite
THE LOVE: Do you best to slice the potatoes as evenly and thinly as possible to ensure even cooking.

pommes anna  - bite

Thanks for reading.

pommes anna - buttery, crisp stack of spuds
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AUTHOR:
:
:
:
Yield: 12
INGREDIENTS
  • POMMES ANNA
  • Makes 12 servings
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 12 Yukon gold potatoes, sliced 1/16 inch thick
THE STEPS:
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. Spray 12 - 6 ounce ramekins with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, olive oil, Parmesan, chopped thyme, salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  4. Add the potato slices and toss gently to coat evenly.
  5. Layer the potato slices into stacks in the prepared ramekins, filling until you run out of potato slices.
  6. Drizzle the filled ramekins with any remaining butter.
  7. Place the filled ramekins on a sturdy baking sheet.
  8. Place baking sheet in the preheated oven bake until the potato edges and tops are golden brown and the centers are tender, 45 to 55 minutes.
  9. Remove the tray of ramekins from the oven and let them rest for 5 minutes.
  10. Carefully remove them with a fork to a serving dish.
  11. Sprinkle with thyme leaves, extra Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
  12. Serve immediately.
THE LOVE:
Do you best to slice the potatoes as evenly and thinly as possible to ensure even cooking.