Potatoes are an essential menu item at our home, especially for holiday and celebratory meals. I partly think it’s because I find the texture so comforting and satisfying regardless of how it’s prepared. This year for Thanksgiving and for our big Christmas dinner, I’ve got potatoes on the menu and I’m making this gorgeous pommes anna or potato galette. I’m serving it with sour cream and a very fruity and tangy onion jam that contains guava with it.
Read more about the science behind this classic dish in my newsletter, The Flavor Files.Print
¼ cup/60 ml fresh lemon juice
4 ½ cups/1 L chilled water
2 lb/ g large Russet potatoes, peeled
¼ cup/60 ml duck fat, melted
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp cornstarch
4 garlic cloves, grated
½ tsp ground turmeric
Fine sea salt
1 Tbsp chopped chives
- Mix the lemon juice with the water in a large mixing bowl. Using a mandoline, cut the potatoes into 1/8 in/4 mm slices. As the potatoes are sliced, quickly submerge them in the lemon water to prevent them from browning. Layout two large lint-free kitchen towels on the kitchen counter. Swirl the potato slices in the lemon water to eliminate any excess starch. Remove the potatoes, shaking them to get rid of any excess water, and lay them out in a single layer on the kitchen towels. Let them air dry, about 30 minutes. Transfer the potato slices to a dry large mixing bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 425F/220C.
- Take a 12 in/30.5 cm cast-iron skillet. Add 2 tsp of the melted duck fat and 1 tsp of cornstarch to the skillet, and brush the mixture to coat well.
- Heat the remaining duck fat in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and turmeric and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Remove from the heat and the mixture over the potatoes in the mixing bowl. Add the 1 Tbsp of cornstarch and season well with salt. Fold carefully to coat the potato slices.
- Starting from the center, layer the potatoes, lightly overlapping each slice over the other in a circular coil or snake-like pattern. Continue until all the potatoes are used, and the entire pan is covered. Heat the skillet over medium heat, undisturbed, until the potatoes begin to sizzle, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Carefully place a sheet of foil on top of the potatoes taking care not to disturb the layer. Place an 8 in or 9 in/20 cm to 23 cm circular cake pan over the foil and fill the pan with pie beads. Carefully transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the potatoes are crisp and golden brown along the edges, 45 to 50 minutes. Once cooked, remove the skillet from the oven. Carefully remove the cake pan and peel the foil off the hot potato layer to avoid displacing the potatoes. Let the potatoes sit in the skillet undisturbed for 20 minutes.
- Run a silicone fish or an offset spatula along the edges of the potato galette to help release it from the sides. Using the spatula, check to see if the galette base is entirely free from the skillet; if it appears stuck, gently nudge it to loosen using the spatula. Invert a serving plate over the skillet, hold it and the place tight together and carefully flip them over. Garnish with chives. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature with sour cream and guava onion jam.
- The potato galette can be made a day ahead, warm at 200F/95 C before serving.
- Besides duck fat, ghee, schmaltz, and bacon fat are good choices. I’ve used extra-virgin olive oil, but the results aren’t as lovely as the others; the potatoes can stick to the skillet’s surface. Butter tends to burn because it contains milk solids, so I don’t use it.
- The lemon juice is used to prevent the browning of the cut slices of potatoes. 1 tsp of citric acid crystals in 4 ½ cups/1 L of cold water will also work.
- A mandoline will give consistently thin slices of potatoes. These gloves are great for keeping your fingers safe.
- The turmeric used here is not for flavor but instead color. Resist the urge to add too much.