From America's Test Kitchen Season 12: Bistro-Style Steak and Potatoes
Pommes Anna, the classic French potato cake (or galette) in which thinly sliced potatoes are tossed with clarified butter, tightly shingled in a skillet, and cooked slowly on the stovetop, delivers showstopping results, but it requires so much labor and time that we’re willing to make it only once a year. We wanted a potato galette with a crisp, deeply bronzed crust encasing a creamy center that tasted of earthy potatoes and sweet butter—and we wanted one we could make on a weeknight. We started by neatly arranging just the first layer of potatoes in the skillet, and casually packed the rest of the potatoes into the pan; once the galette was inverted onto the plate, only the tidy layer was visible. We swapped the traditional cast-iron skillet for a nonstick pan and achieved superior browning by starting the galette on the stovetop, then transferring it to the bottom rack of the oven. Regular melted butter was just as good as clarified and less work, and for a galette that held together but wasn’t gluey, we rinsed the potatoes to rid them of excess starch, then incorporated a little cornstarch for just the right amount of adhesion. And in lieu of occasionally tamping down on the galette during cooking as in traditional recipes, we simply filled a cake pan with pie weights and set it on the galette for a portion of the baking time.
This crisp, earthy-tasting potato cake would be the perfect side dish—if it weren’t for all the fussy layering. And does the cake have to fall apart when you slice it?Watch the Video
Serves 6 to 8
In order for the potato cake to hold together, it is important to slice the potatoes no more than 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick and to make sure the slices are thoroughly dried before assembling the cake. Use a mandoline slicer or the slicing attachment of a food processor to slice the potatoes uniformly thin. A pound of dried beans, rice, or coins can be substituted for the pie weights. For an alternate method for unmolding the galette, see related content.