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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Meat & Potatoes

I needed a potato dish to serve with grilled steak last night. A lot things came to mind.   Although baked potatoes seemed the obvious choice, I wasn't inspired by the thought of them. My father baked a mean potato.  He'd slice them halfway through and stuff them with thinly sliced carrots, onions, and celery.  Before wrapping them in foil to bake, he'd wrap a slice of bacon around the cut sides of the potatoes.  They were fantastic.  Very aromatic.  We'll ocassionally have them like that, but last night I didn't have carrots or celery. We usually prepare baked potatoes with the method I learned in school; rubbed with olive oil, covered in kosher salt, skewered with metal skewers, and roasted.  The salt draws the moisture out of the potatoes, leaving flaky light baked potatoes.

I thought about scalloped potatoes, but had no cheese or cream. Classic Potatoes Anna or Pommes Anna  consists of thinly sliced potatoes, melted butter, salt, and pepper.  I certainly had those ingredients.  I''ll admit, I always thought Potatoes Anna had gruyere cheese between the layers.  That just sounded right...and tasty. Nope. Potatoes, butter, salt, and pepper.  Period.

Using my mandoline, I thinly sliced potatoes  before layering them in a heavy skillet with salt,  pepper, parsley, and a lot of melted butter. I baked the potatoes for 45 minutes until browned, inverted  the huge potato cake onto a plate, and cut it into wedges to serve.  Easy.

When sliced, the crisp exterior gave way to creamy buttery potato layers.  Nudged alongside orange-zested creamed spinach, The Anna wedge paired beautifully with grilled  garlic-marinated  sirloin steaks.  I served the steaks on a pool of reduced red wine swirled with creme fraiche topped with butter and parsley.  Words fail.


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