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Lesson 22 Duck breast pommes annaThere are so many reasons to love duck, especially duck breast or magret du canard.  I love the slightly tangy flavor of the meat, the juiciness of a rose pink breast and the crunch of crispy cooked skin.   I am more apt to cook a duck breast or confit duck legs than roast a whole duck, perhaps for me the parts are better than the sum.

The duck breast is trimmed of excess fat and sinew and then the skin is scored with a harlequin pattern.  The breast is seasoned on both sides and placed fat side down in a cold pan onto the med heat.  The skin should be golden and crisp, which will take around 10 min, then the breast is flipped onto the meat side.  Continue to cook on the stove top until the internal temperature reaches 52-53C, then remove from the heat and rest for 5 minutes before slicing.  So simple you will need to prepare all your other elements before you begin cooking the duck!

The duck is served with a puree of cumin spiced carrots, which was a surprise.  Usually carrots are only included as an aromatic in most of our recipes to heighten the flavor of sauces, so once their flavor is extracted they are tossed away.   For this preparation the carrots are simply cooked in salted water, pureed with a little cream and cumin.  Just delicious!  This is an easy accompaniment that could make any weeknight meal more special.

This recipe included a new potato preparation, Pommes Anna. Anna potatoes are a classic French dish of sliced, layered potatoes cooked in a very large amount of melted butter.   For our method we peeled the potatoes then used a metal form to cut them into even rounds.  The rounds were then sliced thinly using a mandolin.   To create small a galette, we used a bilini pan to make single serving size.  There are many sizes the galette can be made, the main decision is the size of the pan or form you decide to use.

The galette is cooked on the stove top until the bottom is crispy, then gently – very gently flipped over, to brown the presentation side.  If you try too soon or the top layer is not stuck together with enough butter it could fall apart, so don’t rush or skimp on the butter.  That’s so French – don’t you think?

Continue for Pommes Anna recipe

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First attempt - A tiny bit overdone on the edges so I promise to reattempt and post a better photo soon!.

First attempt – A tiny bit overdone on the edges so I will make another one soon.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 medium waxy potatoes

30 g clarified butter (or more ;))

salt and pepper

  1. Choose a pan of a dimension to suit you; Bilini pan, small frying pan or muffin tin.   Brush the pan(s) bottom with clarified butter and then line with piece parchment cut to the diameter of the pan.  Brush the parchment paper with clarified butter
  2. Peel the potatoes then cut into equal size tubes with a form.  About 3 cm to 4 cm max in diameter.  Do not rinse the potatoes in water or they will lose their starchy sticky quality.
  3. Lay the potatoes in the pan in a ring working towards the center until the center is closed then brushed with clarified butter and season with salt and pepper.   If you are making Pommes Anna in a muffin tin you will have less of a rose shape but rather a vertical layered effect with your potato.  You will need to brush butter on most layers if using a muffin tin to ensure the potatoes stick together properly.
  4. Form a second layer on top of the first and brush with loads more clarified butter.  This layer should be the most beautiful as it will be the presentation side.
  5. If you so desire, perhaps a few herbs to brighten up the color.
  6. Cook the galette on med heat on the stove top until the bottom is golden brown and crisp.  I Flip the galette over to brown the presentation side.  Once flipped, the galette goes into the oven at 180C to continue cooking for 5 or more minutes.  If you are using a muffing tin, place directly in the oven, you will not need to flip the Pommes Anna just watch the top to ensures it is not over browned.  Muffin tin version can be cooked for 15 min covered with foil and 15 to 20 min uncovered.
  7. Use a paring knife tip to test the doneness – you are seeking tender potatoes.
  8. If cooked, flip the galette out, presentation side up, onto paper towel to drain of excess butter.  Voila!  These are easy to make however take a little time and practice.

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