A nice break from French fries and scrumptious alternative to mashed potatoes or regular baked potatoes, Potatoes Anna, a recipe adapted from LaVarenne’s Basic French Cookery by Anne Willan, is a classic French dish that consists of layered potatoes cooked in a skillet with lots of butter until browned and crisp and baked in the oven to finish cooking. Also known as Pommes Anna or Anna potatoes, this dish is a perfect side dish to meats recipes, fish and vegetables whether grilled, baked, roasted or sautéed.
Use firm-fleshed potatoes when making this recipe. Before using to make potatoes Anna easy healthy recipes, peel the potatoes and slice them thinly about an eight of an inch thick. The potatoes should then be seasoned with salt and pepper and layered in a nonstick pan or heavy skillet. Cast iron pan also works well for this recipe since it distributes the heat evenly. In France, there is a special double baking dish manufactured specifically for the making of the dish. Called la cocotte à pommes Anna, it is made of copper and consists of a lower and upper section that fit into each other so the whole vessel can be inverted together with its contents while cooking.
The origin of Anna Potatoes can be traced back to the time of Napoleon III. It is credited to chef Adolphe Dugléré, then a head chef at the Café Anglais, the leading restaurant in Paris during the 19th century. It is said that Dugléré named the dish after one of the grandes cocottes of the period. Speculations of who it was named after are the actress Dame Judic, whose ream name is Anna Damiens or Anna DesLions, a famous courtesan of the era.
Ingredients: 3 to 4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 in. thick, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 5 to 6 tablespoons butter, Salt, Freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Pour the oil and 2 tablespoons butter into a large, ovenproof skillet. Remove from heat and tilt the skillet so the oil and butter coat the entire bottom of the pan. Place the potato slices in the skillet, overlapping them to create a spiral effect. Lay another layer of potatoes over this one; it needn’t be in a spiral pattern. Season potatoes with salt and pepper; dot with butter. Keep adding layers of potatoes, seasoning them and dotting them with butter, until the skillet is full. Place the skillet on the stove over medium heat and cook 10 to 15 minutes. To test doneness, slip a small spatula under the potato layers to see if they are browned on the bottom. If you want a crisp bottom layer, leave the potatoes uncovered. If you want a softer bottom layer, cover the whole with aluminum foil. Place the skillet in the oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a toothpick. To serve, use a spatula to loosen the edges of the potatoes away from the skillet. Invert the skillet over a platter.
A basic recipe of pommes Anna involves layering the sliced potatoes in a pan, dousing them in butter, and frying until they form a cake. The potato cake is turned upside down every ten minutes until the outside become golden brown and crispy. After it is cooked, the dish is taken out of the mold forming a cake about two inches high. This can then be cut into wedges and served to accompany roasts.