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Who is this Anna person? April 7, 2011

Posted by Toy Lady in Cook's Illustrated, Cooking, random stuff, Sides.
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And why is she shaking her pommes at me?
PhotobucketNow, you may already know this, but it bears repeating.

Peeps and I are big fans of potatoesregular and sweet.

And, even though we knew it would probably be far more work than, perhaps, we might like, when the current issue of Cook’s Illustrated arrived with its “simplified” potato galette, well, we figured that maybe, just possibly, Cook’s Illustrated‘s “simplified” might just be “reasonable” – early in the week , when we tend to feel a little more ambitious about cooking dinner.

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We started with 2 and a half pounds (about 6 or 8 medium-ish) potatoes – Cook’s recommends Yukon Golds, and gee, we had some, so that’s what we used.  (I wouldn’t hesitate to use russets, if that’s what I had lying around.)

We sliced them super-duper thin- 1/8 inch (seriously!) – we use the V-slicer for precision.  That, and neither of our knife skills is up that that task and we’re good with that!

PhotobucketOnce the potatoes had been soaked in cold water, we patted them dry.  After all, it wouldn’t do to have damp potatoes, now would it?

Then we combined a tablespoon of cornstarch (remember all the potato starch we soaked out of the potatoes?  Well, we replace it.  Only in Cook’s!) , a teaspoon each of salt and black pepper, and a bunch (maybe 2 tsp.) of chopped fresh (or, in our case, frozen) rosemary.  Stir in half a stick of melted butter, then toss the dried potatoes in the mixture.

See, here’s the thing.  We got rid of random amounts of potato starch and replaced it with corn starch – in an amount we could control.  (The starch will help bind the potatoes together.)  And of course, you can’t have potatoes without a little seasoning.

And the butter – well, butter don’t need no reason!

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We took another tablespoon of butter and melted it in the bottom of our big (10-inch) non-stick skillet.  Ovenproof, of course – it’s going to go in a (preheated, right?) 450-degree oven.

So we’ve got the melty butter, and we’ve swirled it around the bottom of the pan.  Then just take and lay the potato slices, one at a time, on the bottom, starting in the center and working in overlapping circles around.

Tedious much?

Yeah, but the cool thing is that we only have to do one layer – that’s going to be the top.  The Presentation Side, if you will.

PhotobucketBoy, those guys at Cook’s are clever, aren’t they?  The rest of the potatoes just get (carefully) dumped on top of the pretty ones – spread them out fairly evenly, and Bob’s your uncle.

Speaking of clever.

After we cook the potatoes on the stovetop just until they’re sizzling and the potatoes are starting to turn translucent, THEN we’re going to bung them in the oven – cover with a sheet of aluminum foil, then a pan full of pie weights.  Or, in our case, dried pink beans (yes, I keep a jar of pie beans, don’t you?).

The weight will help keep the potatoes compacted – they’ll stick together better.  Really!

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And so we baked the potatoes, covered and weighted, in the hot oven for about 20 minutes, then uncover, return to the oven, and finish baking another 20-25 minutes, until the top is browned and the potatoes are tender when you stick them in the center with a paring knife.

Kind of like a cake, I guess.  A lovely, buttery potato layer cake.

Now, once the potatoes are done, we pull the pan out of the oven (don’t forget that the handle will be HOT!) and put it back on the stovetop, over a medium flame, and cook, shaking gently, another couple of minutes, or until the galette (because that’s what it is) releases easily from the sides of the pan.

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(You may want to use silicone for this – metal will scratch, and rubber will melt.  Though I suppose you could use wood.)

Remove from heat, and place a cutting board over the pan, and flip the whole thing over, carefully and using pot holders.

Now your galette will be on the cutting board, out of the pan, and with the pretty side up.

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Cut it into 6 or 8 slices, since it’s right there on the cutting board and everything.

And let me tell you – it tastes as pretty as it looks!

And it wasn’t really that hard – just a little fussy. But the way I look at it is this – when it comes to fussy dinners, just like so much in life, you often get out of what you put into it.

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