A “Gateau de Pommes de Terre” – A Parisian Potato Cake

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I love potatoes, and this is my all-time favorite dish – a “gateau de pommes de terre” – a “potato cake!”
It’s a dish I first had in with my wife Alex at the legendary bistro Chez L’Ami Louis in Paris.
Here is my step-by-step process for making this iconic “gateau de pommes de terre”…

pic #1 - slice potatoes

I began with five Russet potatoes, which I peeled and then sliced thinly – you can do it on a mandolin, but I did it by hand, each slice approximately 1/4″ or so thick…next, you sauté all of them together in a large NON-STICK frying pan – I used clarified butter as well.

Make sure the frying pan is large enough for all of the potatoes and has some depth to it because this is the pan you will put into the oven to finish the dish – so make sure it’s non-stick!

pic #2 - saute potatoes

You will sauté the potatoes over medium heat for 20-25 minutes, and now is the time to pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

I added some chopped garlic in with the potatoes, along with a healthy amount of salt and pepper – the amount of clarified butter you use is a matter of taste, but at least several tablespoons…and I add a bit of olive oil as well – more oil will help ensure that the potato cake will caramelize in the oven and also come out of the pan easily…

pic #3 - potatoes pressed down

After 20-25 minutes on medium heat, take the frying pan off the heat, and press the potatoes down evenly, so they are formed into a cake. Using an oven mitt, put the pan into the oven for baking.

After 25 minutes in the oven, remove the pan using an oven mitt, then take a rubber spatula and gently glide it under your potato cake, all the way around the pan…this will loosen it up for the “flip” that is next.

pic #4 - potatoes out of oven

Again, this is your potato cake once you take it out of the oven.  Not so different than when it went in, but now you have to “flip” it over – out of the pan and onto a plate – because you loosened it, it’s all about one consistent move to flip the pan over and down onto your serving dish – and then you have this:

pic #5 - the potato cake flipped over

Once you have flipped it over onto your serving plate, make a small hole in the middle and you add raw chopped garlic and fresh parsley, and it looks like this, ready to serve:

pic #6 - finished potato cake after toppings

I’m very happy with how this potato cake turned out, and yes, it took a few attempts to get it right – I’ve had people help me with the “flip” and it’s just too awkward, so the key is a non-stick pan and good caramelization and a confident “flip” motion…and you will have this to enjoy!

John Rieber

Here is a link to the video that shows me flipping the potato cake out of the pan and onto the serving dish:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDkf1Zh3VFo&w=560&h=315]

Here is the link to my website, where the story exists in a longer version with more pictures, and a look at the classic Chez L’Ami Louis restaurant in Paris

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