RECIPE TITLE "David Van Laer's Potatoes Anna"
recipe excerpted from The Paris Cookbook Copyright © by Patricia Wells.
... more great recipes from Patricia Wells on our GREAT CHEFS page!
easy to moderate
This crusty, crunchy, golden potato cake comes from David Van Laer, and I first sampled it during the early years of his first Left Bank restaurant, Le Bamboche. He has since moved to a new address with a new restaurant name, Maxence, and the rich cake figures on the menu there during the winter months.
2 pounds Yukon Gold or russet potatoes
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, clarified
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
Equipment: A 10-inch round nonstick cake pan
1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
2. Peel and thinly slice the potatoes, dropping them in a bowl of cold water as they are sliced. Rinse the potatoes, drain, and pat dry with a clean towel.
3. Brush the bottom and sides of a 10-inch nonstick cake pan with some of the clarified butter. Starting at the center of the pan, arrange potato slices, overlapping, in a single layer. Brush with butter. Season lightly with sea salt and white pepper. Continue layering in this manner until all the potatoes and butter have been used, occasionally pressing the layers down with the back of a spatula to form a compact cake. Cut out a piece of aluminum foil to fit exactly on top of the potatoes. Place the foil over the potatoes.
4. Place the cake pan in the center of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the potatoes are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes more. Run a small sharp knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the potatoes. Invert the cake pan over a large round serving platter with a lip (to catch any excess butter). Serve immediately, cutting the potato cake into wedges.
On Clarified Butter:
Clarified butter has a gently nutty aroma and a fine, grainy texture, and can heighten the flavors of many foods. In its natural state, butter has a high water content (about 16 percent) and a small amount of nonfatty substances (about 2 percent). It is the water in butter that causes it to spoil, and the combination of water and the nonfatty substances that cause it to blacken when very hot. Clarified butter is in essence, purified butter, because the clarification process removes the water and the nonfatty substances, leaving 100 percent pure butter, which can be stored much longer. The greatest advantage of clarified butter is that it can be heated to high temperatures without burning, and it is particularly welcome when you want perfectly browned fruits, vegetables or, meats. Clarified butter can be used whenever butter is called for in cooking, but with care. It is the water in unclarified butter that causes it to sputter and foam when heated, a warning signal to turn down the heat. When overheated, clarified butter reacts just like overheated oil. It will only smoke.
The Paris Cookbook. Copyright © by Patricia Wells.
|Vegetable Harvest: Vegetables at the Center of the Plate
To dispense with a puzzlement right away--though named Vegetable Harvest, Patricia Wells's marvelous 190-plus recipe collection doesn't center on those edibles exclusively. Rather, it offers a well-rounded dish selection that puts them to brilliant use, often as supporting players (except, of course, in chapters titled "Vegetables" and "Potatoes"). This bit of culinary license shouldn't discourage anyone from buying the book, whose recipes, such as Baby Squid Salad with Garlic, Olives, Tomatoes and Parsley; Penne with Fava Beans, Basil Puree, and Parmesan; and Lamb Couscous with Chickpeas and Zucchini, exemplify all that's remarkable about Wells's approach to modern French cooking. Emphasizing simplicity, ingredient freshness and, yes, ease of preparation, the dishes--including breads and desserts like Lemon and Rosemary Flatbread and Almond Buttermilk Sorbet--will delight any cook who prizes direct yet brilliantly orchestrated flavor. In addition to wine advice, Wells also offers a pantry chapter including sauce and vinaigrette recipes--Creamy Lemon-Chive Dressing is one--nearly worth owning the book for. In works including The Provence Cookbook and Bistro Cooking, Wells brought French cooking to the American kitchen in a way both authentic and relaxed. Vegetable Harvest furthers that approach spectacularly. --Arthur Boehm Click here to buy
How can a good cook become a great cook? It's all in the detailsBecoming a Good Cook Means Learning Principles that Will Last
You a Lifetime in the Kitchen; With Simply French,
You Will Never Cook The Same Way Again.
# Knowing when to season and how
# Appreciating the simple process of reducing a sauce
# Allowing meats and poultry to rest so they release maximum flavor
# The simple art of straining a sauce for a refined condensed flavor
# Knowing why dried herbs are no substitute for fresh
In Simply French acclaimed food critic and best-selling author of Trattoria Patricia Wells works side by side with award-winning French chef Joel Robuchon to distill the best of the French table for the American cook. Among the 125 exciting recipes youll find in Simply French are Potatoes "Chanteduc," a perfect Roast Chicken, Beef Tenderloin Roasted in Herb-Infused Salt Crust, Marbleized Chocolate Wafers, and Cinnamon-Chocolate Mousse.Click here to buy
In this warm look into the world of French bistro food, eminent food writer Patricia Wells reveals her love for this simple, robust cuisine in a collection of recipes garnered from France's best bistros. From Warm Potato Salad with Herbed Vinaigrette to Lamb Stew in White Wine to Pear Clafoutis, Wells admits her preference for hearty, homey bistro dishes. Through clearly written recipes, Wells encourages cooks to buy the best ingredients and turn them into fragrant, warming dishes. Each recipe has a note telling where it came from and alluding to its flavor. Pithy quotes throughout the book relate to bistro style--in cooking, serving, and eating--and historical quotations give a cultural connotation. Wine choices reach deep into the heart of France, from a crisp white from Provence such as a Chateau Simone with lamb, to a good Côtes du Rhone (Cru du Coudelet) with guinea hen. From the introduction to the last dessert recipe (for Prunes in Red Wine), Bistro Cooking is sure to please not just the novice in the kitchen, but the experienced cook as well. --Susan Loomis, Amazon.co.uk Click here to buy
|The Paris Cookbook
American-born Paris dweller Patricia Wells has turned her love of French food into a remarkable series of culinary works. The Paris Cookbook reflects that affection and her familiarity with the Paris food scene, offering 150 of its best recipes. From famed chef Joël Robuchon's sublime Creamy White Bean Soup to a hearty flank steak dish courtesy of Wells's butcher; from bistro Chez Benoit's Asparagus and Green Bean Salad to confectioner La Maison du Chocolate's Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse, the book abounds in wonderful food. Wells's achievement, here as elsewhere, is to make her recipes genuinely accessible to the average cook; well-chosen and lucidly written, they invite even the hesitant into the kitchen with the promise of great eating.
Following the courses of a typical Parisian meal, from appetizers through desserts, the book presents three-star dishes like Arpège Eggs with Maple Syrup, as well as more humble fare, including an exemplary Lemon Chicken and socca, the delicious Provençale pancakes. A section on pasta, rice, beans, and grains offers such standouts as Flora's Polenta Fries. Desserts also receive their due with delights like Fresh Fig and Almond Gratin. Illustrated with photos that evoke Parisian life at the market and at the table, and containing a wealth of tips and helpful information, wine recommendations, plus the addresses of the dining spots mentioned, the book is a worthy addition to Wells's dependable store of cooking guides. --Arthur Boehm Click here to buy
|The Provence Cookbook
In books including The Paris Cookbook and Bistro Cooking Patricia Wells offered personal takes on delicious French fare. The Provence Cookbook finds Wells, a resident of the region, evoking the terroir in over 200 recipes culled form chefs, home cooks, farmers, and more. Like her other collections, Provence yields easy but elegant fare--modern, light-on-their-feet dishes like Six-Minute Cod Braised in Spicy Tomato Sauce and Francks's Roasted Duck Breasts with Green Olives. While the recipes are truly French (with an occasional cross-cultural contribution), Wells has done her usual trick of translating them for relaxed American cooking; she's also provided enticing vignettes on local markets; on ingredients, like the nutty camargue rice; and on other culinary suppliers such as Hervé Poron, "The Truffle King." In themselves, the listings make a useful guide.
In addition to the expected categories, the large recipe range includes breads, pasta, and egg and cheese dishes, such as Quick Polenta Bread with Rosemary, Linguini with Saffron, and Baked Arugula Omelet. Desserts are hardly neglected, and include evocative specialties like Fresh Fig and Homemade Apricot Jam Tart, Three Pear Cake, and Individual Cherry-Hazelnut Gratins. Tips like "On Peeling Tomatoes," menus, and photos further distinguish a book that will delight both Wells's fans and those fortunate to discover her culinary France. --Arthur Boehm Click here to buy