The crispiness of perfectly roasted, thinly sliced potatoes, combined with the decadence of buttery mashed potatoes, comes together easily for an incredible presentation. Adding a gentle back heat and the subtle flavor of roasted garlic takes this classic French dish to a new level. One taste, and you’ll be in love!
MAKE ROASTED GARLIC: Cut the top off a whole head of garlic, drizzle with olive oil; wrap in aluminum foil and roast at 300°F / 150°C for 30 minutes. Cool then squeeze the roasted garlic out of the cloves.
MAKE THE POTATOES ANNA: Preheat oven to 425°F / 220°C. Melt 3 ounces (6 T) unsalted butter and 1 teaspoon of chili flakes in a medium-sized, non-stick, oven-safe skillet. While the butter melts, thinly slice potatoes using a mandolin. Pour butter and chili flakes into a small bowl. Layer sliced potatoes in the same skillet, arranging in a decorative pattern. Between every two layers, brush with the melted chili butter, sprinkle with bits of the roasted garlic, and season with salt. Continue until all the potato slices have been used. Cook the potatoes on the stove over medium heat until the bottom starts to brown, then dot the remaining ounce of butter around the edges of the pan and place the pan in the oven. Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the exterior is crispy and the potatoes are cooked through and tender. Remove from the oven and turn on the broiler. Carefully drain any remaining butter from skillet, then flip the potatoes out onto a plate or board, and slide back into the skillet, upside-down (what was the bottom is now the top). Broil for 3-4 minutes until the top is golden and crispy. Slice into wedges and serve.
MAKE IT YOUR OWN:
– Go Classic: Potatoes, butter, salt & pepper. That’s it.
– Seafood Side-Dish: Add a squeeze of lemon to the butter and season with seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay) instead of salt.
– Roasted Chicken Side-Dish: Add fresh, chopped sage leaves and diced shallots to the butter as it melts.
– Cheesy: Sprinkle a bit of grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese between layers and on top.
Make ahead: The potatoes can be made earlier in the day, up to the point of returning them to the broiler. If refrigerated, allow them 20 minutes to come to room temperature before placing under the broiler.
“Po-tay-toes! Boil em, mash em, stick em in a stew. Lovely big golden chips with a nice piece of fried fish.” Everyone, including Samwise Gamgee in Lord of the Rings, appreciates how incredibly versatile potatoes are. From the homey goodness of mashed potatoes, to the convenience of baked potatoes, to the elegance of duchess potatoes, there are countless ways to prepare them.
One of my favorite potato dishes is Potatoes Anna (a.k.a Pommes Anna). If you’ve never had them, you’re in for a treat – this cooking method results in an exterior shell of buttery, crisp potatoes, filled with buttery, creamy potato goodness. The classic, French version is simply clarified butter, potatoes, salt, and pepper. Occasionally you’ll see it made with a bit of thyme or rosemary, but it’s a very simple recipe that makes the potato be the star of the show.
And while I adore the classic preparation of this dish, I also like to use it to bring some creativity to my dinners. This chili and roasted garlic version is one of my favorites to serve with steak. The chili flakes provid a gentle background heat. And the bits of roasted garlic bring in their sweet, complex flavor without the sharp bite of fresh garlic.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: This is a dish that you really do need to use a mandolin slicer to make. If you’re very skilled with a knife and have the patience to cut enough potatoes super thin, you can try, but I don’t recommend it. Get yourself a mandolin and slicing is quick, easy, and the potatoes will be a consistent thickness.
Finally, let’s talk about the presentation. This is a dish you prepare upside down, so the first layer of potatoes you put in the pan becomes the top layer when served. Spend a bit of time on this first layer, starting in the center and then spiraling the slices out, using only the nicest potato slices. Once you’re past those first couple of layers, it doesn’t matter as much.
I also like to quickly run the potatoes (presentation side up) under the broiler for a few minutes to just be extra certain that it’s crispy. This step also allows me to prepare the potatoes ahead of the rest of the meal, and then quickly heat and crisp them up right before serving. Be certain you use a pan that is rated for use in a high-heat oven … no plastic handles!