Pommes Anna is a classic French side dish made with sliced potatoes cooked in a lot of melted butter. Even though the preparation is simple and has just a few ingredients, the presentation makes it perfect for a special occasion. I’ll show you two ways to make this dish, as well as my own special twist!
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Potatoes Anna and Julia Child
Pommes Anna, or Anna potatoes, is one of the first recipes I remember making when I was in college, even before cooking school. It’s a dish that reminds me of Julia Child. She loved simple food, and she loved butter! Pommes Anna has both.
The humble but versatile potato takes center stage, and clarified butter is the supporting character. Using clarified butter means that this dish is also Whole30 approved, Paleo and gluten free!
Boiling or russet potatoes work best for this dish, as they have a mild flavor and are firm enough to hold their shape when cooked.
I’ve given my pommes Anna potatoes a twist by adding fresh thyme. But you can also layer them with shallots, parmesan cheese, or other fresh herbs.
How to Make Pommes Anna
There are two ways to prepare this pommes Anna recipe. The first method is on the stove top. For this preparation, a cast iron or very heavy skillet is best. If you don’t own a cast iron skillet, it’s a great skillet to add to your collection, and once it’s been properly seasoned, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one!
For both methods you’ll need clarified butter, also called ghee, which is butter that has all the milk solids removed. It has a higher smoking point than regular butter. That means the potatoes will have a lovely golden crust, but won’t burn.
While clarified butter sounds complicated, it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to make.
Heat a stick of butter in a saucepan over a low heat. When the butter is melted, skim off the foam and carefully pour the clear golden liquid into a container, leaving the milk solids. Whatever butter you don’t use, can be stored in the fridge for future use.
To make this potatoes Anna recipe, start by peeling the potatoes. Keep them in a bowl of cold water until they are all peeled. This tip applies to all potato preparations to keep them from discoloring.
Slice the potatoes about 1/4″ thick using a mandoline or a sharp knife. Try to keep the slices as uniform as possible and keep them in cold water.
Lay the slices on a paper towel to remove excess moisture while the skillet is heating up.
Over medium heat, heat the cast iron skillet. Remember, cast iron is very heavy, so it requires longer to preheat. Once the skillet is hot, pour or ladle about ¼ inch clarified butter in the bottom of the pan.
Begin placing the potatoes in a layered, circular pattern, working into the center. Season the first layer with salt, pepper and fresh thyme (or any other ingredients you choose to add).
Add a little more butter and continue with the second layer.
Repeat with the rest of the potatoes, seasoning each layer and adding a ladle-full of clarified butter.
Cover the pan and turn the stove to low. Continue cooking until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 35-40 minutes, depending on how thick the potatoes are and how deep your skillet is.
Since a cast iron pan’s handle will be just as hot, transferring the potatoes to a serving dish can be tricky. First, run a knife around the edge. If your cast iron pan is properly seasoned, it should come out very easily.
I use a wooden cutting board and a hot pad holder and flip the whole thing over. Nothing sticks to the bottom and you can see the potatoes are perfectly golden brown.
TIP: To transfer it to a serving dish without it falling apart, I use the insert from my cake pan with the removable bottom. It’s very thin, and can easily slip under the potatoes.
Garnish the finished Pommes Anna with additional fresh thyme, and salt and pepper.
For the second method, follow the recipe for pommes Anna in the exact same way, but in a pan with a removable bottom. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake in the oven until the potatoes are fork tender, about 35-40 minutes. You don’t need to cover the pan.
Use this method if you don’t need extra oven space. For this version, I used parsley, thyme, chives and thinly-sliced shallots.
Wondering what to serve with Pommes Anna? Try one of these great entrees:
This post was originally published on August 17th, 2012.
- 2 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes, washed, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
- 1/2 cup unsalted clarified butter*
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, chives, parsley, rosemary, oregano or a combination of herbs.
- Kosher salt and white pepper
- Wash, peel and slice potatoes 1/4″ thick and drop into cold water to prevent browning. When ready, drain and pat potatoes dry with paper towels.
- In a 9 or 10" heavy bottomed cast iron or non-stick skillet, pour about 1/4" butter. Over a medium heat, arrange potato slices in a circle, sprinkle with some herbs, and a little salt and pepper.
- Add more butter and continue layering potatoes, thyme, salt and pepper, finishing with a layer of potatoes.
- Drizzle top with any remaining butter.
- Cook over medium heat until bottom begins to get brown and crusty.
- Reduce heat, cover and continue cooking until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 30-40 minutes depending on depth of pan and thickness of potatoes.
- When done, invert onto a serving plate and cut into wedges.
- Sprinkle with more fresh herbs.
- *To clarify butter, heat over a low heat until butter is melted. Spoon off and discard white foam. What remains is clarified butter. It has a higher smoking point than regular butter.