Pommes De Terre Macaire

serves 6-8

3 pounds of russet (Idaho) potatoes (about 5 large), rinsed and scrubbed

3 Tablespoons canola oil

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Optional Topping for Pommes de Terre Byron

1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream 

2 ounces grated Gruyère cheese (about 2/3 cup)

Place the oven rack in lower-middle position and preheat to 425º F.  Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake until the potato is soft to the squeeze, about 40-45 minutes.  (Double check the potato for doneness by piercing deeply with a paring knife).  Remove from the oven and, if proceeding with the recipe immediately, maintain the oven temperature.  (Or you can set the potatoes aside at room temperature for 2-3 hours before continuing, then preheat the oven to 425º F).  When cool enough to handle, peel away the potato skins.  Roughly chop the potatoes (do not mash or mince) into 1/2-3/4-inch chunks.

In a 10-inch non-stick, oven-proof skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium heat.  When the butter stops foaming, add the potatoes and season with the nutmeg, salt, and pepper.  Immediately begin turning the potatoes to thoroughly mix in the seasonings, oil, and butter.  Using a wide, flat spatula, flatten the potatoes to a smooth, solid layer.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5-8 minutes.  Near the end of cooking time, shake and rotate the pan quickly in a clockwise motion to loosen the potato cake from the sides and bottom of the pan.  The bottom should be browning nicely at this point.

Place the skillet in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the top is crusty and lightly colored.  Using oven mitts, carefully remove the HOT pan from the oven and let sit for 30 seconds, then immediately cover it with a serving platter (or a flat baking sheet if that is easier) and quickly invert to unmold the cake (or slide it from the sheet onto your serving platter).  Serve immediately; whole or cut into wedges, or top the cake as follows.  Enjoy!

Variation: Pommes de Terre Byron

*Note-- before continuing with the recipe, make sure your serving platter is oven-safe.  Otherwise, invert the cake onto a baking sheet.

Carefully change the oven rack to the upper position, about 4 or 5 inches away from the broiler element. Turn on the broiler.  Using a large spoon or off-set spatula, spread the top of the hot potatoes with the crème fraîche or sour cream and sprinkle evenly with the cheese.  Place the cake under the broiler and broil until the cake is golden and bubbling, about 3-5 minutes.  Carefully remove from the oven and serve.  Enjoy!  

Printed from thegalleygourmet.net