Pommes Anna, also known as Potatoes Anna is a simple, yet impressive side dish that is sure to be a showstopper at your next dinner party. It’s buttery crispy on the golden brown outside, and melt in your mouth tender on the inside.
About Pommes Anna:
Pommes Anna is a classic 19th-century French dish that was created during Napoleon III’s era. The dish was so named after one of the beautiful women in his court.
The humble potato is thinly sliced and elegantly layered in a pan. The layers are sprinkled with Swiss cheese, basted in butter and baked to perfection. As they bake, the potatoes are compressed so they hold together when unmolded. The potatoes on the outside become golden brown and crispy, while the ones inside absorb the butter and turn satiny soft.
Traditionally Pommes Anna is made with a significant amount of butter. However, through experimentation, I’ve learned that it is just as rich and delicious when made with much less butter. I’ve also learned through experimentation that it works better to start the Pommes Anna on the stove top, but finish it off in the oven.
Ingredients for Pommes Anna:
I used the following ingredients for this amazing dish: Yukon Gold potatoes, unsalted clarified butter, shredded Swiss cheese, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. I actually thought that russet potatoes would work better for Pommes Anna because of their higher starch content. However, after some experimentation, I concluded that the Yukon Gold potatoes worked better!
Preparing the Potatoes for the Pommes Anna:
I started by peeling the potatoes. Then, I sliced them into ⅛-inch slices using my food processor with a 3 mm slicing blade. You could also use a mandolin or sharp knife. However, if you have a food processor with a slicing blade the potatoes are a snap to slice! Once the potatoes were sliced, I placed them in cold water. When I was ready to assemble the Pommes Anna, I drained the potatoes and dried them well with paper towels.
Making the Pommes Anna:
To start, I heated 2 tablespoons of clarified butter over medium heat in a 10-inch nonstick and oven-proof skillet. Then, I arranged ⅓ of the potatoes in a layer by starting at the outside of the pan and overlapping the slices in a clockwise fashion. Next, I sprinkled on 2 teaspoons of the clarified butter and some salt and pepper. After that, I sprinkled on half of the shredded Swiss cheese. I repeated this for the second layer of potatoes and Swiss cheese. Finally, I ended with the remaining potatoes, clarified butter, salt, and pepper.
I let the Pommes Anna cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes to allow the bottom to nicely brown. Then, I placed a piece of parchment paper on top of the potatoes, and used an 8-inch cast iron skillet to help compress the potatoes. A key to a successful Pommes Anna is ensuring that the potatoes are well compressed into a cake! I placed the Pommes Anna with the cast iron pan on top into a preheated 400° F oven for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, I removed the potatoes from the oven, and pressed down the cast iron pan with a dish towel before removing it and the parchment paper. Then, I returned the potatoes to the oven for another 20 minutes. Before unmolding the potatoes, I ran a spatula around the sides and bottom to ensure that nothing would stick.
I carefully turned the Pommes Anna onto a platter, and was totally impressed with how picture perfect it was. I cut it into wedges and was equally amazed with how delicious it was. The Pommes Anna was buttery crispy on the golden brown outside, and melt in your mouth tender on the inside. Yum!
- 2 ½ pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes (See Note 1)
- ¼ cup clarified unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Peel potatoes; slice ⅛-inch thick (See Note 2). Place in cold water until ready to use.
- Drain potatoes; place in single layers on paper towels to dry completely.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of clarified butter over medium heat in a 10-inch nonstick oven-proof skillet. When hot, arrange ⅓ of the potatoes in a layer by starting at the outside of the pan and overlapping the slices in a clockwise fashion.
- Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of clarified butter, ⅛ teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of black pepper on potatoes. Sprinkle with half of the shredded Swiss cheese.
- Repeat with half of remaining potatoes, 2 teaspoons of clarified butter, ¼ teaspoon of salt, a pinch of black pepper, and remaining Swiss cheese.
- Finish with a layer of the remaining potatoes. Sprinkle with remaining clarified butter, remaining salt, and remaining pepper.
- Cook for 20 minutes over medium heat to brown the bottom of the potatoes.
- Place a piece of parchment paper on top of potatoes, and a heavy weight. Press down to compress the potatoes. (See Note 3)
- Cook for 20 minutes in preheated 400° F oven. Remove from oven; press weight with a dish towel or pot holder to compress potatoes. Remove parchment paper and weight; return potatoes to oven for 20 additional minutes.
- Remove from oven. Carefully loosen sides and bottom of potatoes with spatula. Invert on serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve. (See Note 4)
- Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
Chula's Expert Tips
- May use russet potatoes in place of Yukon Gold potatoes. However, the Yukon Gold potatoes are better in my opinion.
- I used my food processor with a 3 mm slicing blade to slice the potatoes.
- I used an 8-inch cast iron skillet for the weight.
- Leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated at 350° F for 10 to 15 minutes.