Traditional potatoes Anna (or pommes Anna as they’re known – which always confused me because ‘pommes’ is French for apples – ‘pommes de terre’ means potatoes) are made with just potatoes and butter, but since I’m ridiculously predictable and can’t imagine anything without cheese, I had to add some parmesan and herbs to make them a bit more interesting. And it worked so well – these were gorgeous. They go perfectly alongside a protein and some vegetables, and they’d be a great little side dish for a dinner party – they look pretty and fairly impressive, but they’re easy to make. You just layer up your ingredients – sliced potatoes, butter, cheese and herbs – and then bake, and they magically stick together into these little towers (it’s important not to rinse your potato slices, as the starch helps them to stick).
I found that a fairly small amount of potato actually went quite a long way in this recipe – each of these little stacks were made from just one medium-sized potato, much smaller than those I would use for baked potatoes. Once you chop them all up it looks like far more. Depending on what you’re serving them with, one of the little rounds each should be enough (we had 2 each, because we’re greedy). Especially if you’re using them for a posh dinner party (unlike me, who ate them in my pyjamas), less is usually more.
On an entirely unrelated note, I have become somewhat obsessed with Gossip Girl. I know I’m about six years too late, and I also know that it’s objectively complete rubbish, but I can’t help enjoying it. It’s the perfect show to have on in the background while I’m working on my computer, because it doesn’t take too much brain power. Plus I like to imagine I’m rich and it helps. Unfortunately I’ve already found out who Gossip Girl is (a revalation which I think comes at the very end of the last series), due to my fangirl-style Googling (I wasn’t trying to find out who it was, but when you Google a certain character’s name, the information was bound to appear), but I still kind of don’t believe it.
Anyway, that was entirely irrelevant. Unless, I suppose, you’re going to eat these cheesy potatoes Anna at a Blair Waldorf-esque dinner party?
- 30g butter
- 250g potatoes (around 4 medium-sized potatoes)
- 20g vegetarian parmesan-style cheese, finely grated
- 2tbsp fresh chives, chopped
- Black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
- Melt the butter (I just used the microwave), and use a small amount of it to lightly grease four fairly large ramekins. Place a square of greaseproof paper in the bottom of each, ensuring that at least a couple of the corners of the paper protrude up the sides of the ramekin a little way.
- Slice the potatoes very thinly - using a mandoline is ideal. I kept the skins on mine, but you could peel them first if you prefer.
- Lay a few of the potato slices on the bottom of each ramekin, overlapping them slightly to create a circular pattern that just covers the bottom (see pictures). Spoon a small amount of butter over each (around half a teaspoon will be enough), and then sprinkle with a small amount of grated cheese (again, around half a teaspoon), a few chopped chives, and a little salt and pepper. Repeat these layers (potato, butter, cheese, chives, seasoning) in each ramekin until all of your ingredients have been used up - I think I ended up with about 4 layers in each.
- Bake, covered, for around 45 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Using the corners of greaseproof paper, lift the potatoes out onto a baking sheet (if you don't have any accessible corners of paper, just gently slide the potatoes out onto the sheet), and bake uncovered for a further 15 minutes to crisp up a little. Remove the paper and serve warm, topped with more chives if desired.