Potatoes Anna turned Potatoes Dana

The pizzazz of the potato.  The fluffy filling, the creamy texture, the crispy crust, the endless uses. Oh, my love affair with this starchy spud is deep.

I adore the versatility of these lumpy tubers.  Slice 'em, dice 'em, fry 'em, mash 'em.  I could go on and on.  The adaptability of a tasty tater is so vast that you can create dishes that range from super simple to elaborate, from rustic and hearty to elegant at any dinner party.  Which is why I'm always on the hunt for new ways to serve them. Awhile back I was fishing around the web and happened upon a recipe for Potatoes Anna from Martha Stewart. It seemed super easy with a crunchy outcome.  As we all know by now, I love crunchy things so it seemed like a no brainier, except that the recipe called for butter which my hubby, JC, can't eat.  But there was an emergency in my house. Potatoes were in abundance coupled with my severe hankering for some starchy goodness.  A recipe intervention was desperately required. So with two types of potatoes about to expire, tons of onions on hand, and toss in the elimination of butter, the time was ripe to modify Potatoes Ann a and make it my own.

Click here for the original recipe, in case you want to try the butter, no onion version.

Here's how it went down the first time.  Keep on reading to see what I recently did to make them even more satisfyingly star spudded.

Ingredients 

Idaho potatoes, thinly sliced
Red new potatoes, thinly sliced
Red or yellow onion, thinly sliced
Magic 3 (olive oil, salt, pepper)

The reason I haven't given exact amounts is because you can make this if you have 3 potatoes or more. It depends on the size of our pan or how many layers you want. Also you may get more slices depending on the size of the potato.  I used a 12" cast iron pan for about 6-7 potatoes.

Instructions

First things first, using a mandolin start thinly slicing your onions and potatoes. If you don't have a mandolin, do not freak out. Do it the good old fashioned way and slice them with a knife, (or even a box grater on the widest cutter).  

 Slices of potatoes and onions

It's best if you use a cast iron pan for this recipe, as it holds the heat and creates the crust you want.  Again, no need to freak, If you don't have one. (Although I would highly recommend investing in one as a cast iron pan has tons of uses.)  Just use a pan that is oven safe and start placing the potato rounds in an overlapping circular fashion around the pan covering the entire bottom in one layer.  Add the onions slices, drizzle some oil, salt, pepper. Continue layering alternating between the two potato types, adding the onion, oil, salt and pepper to each layer. Keep going til you fill the pan up or run out of potatoes, whichever comes first, but do not add onions to the final top layer.

 Potato circles
 Continue layering adding onions, salt, pepper and oil to each layer.

Continue layering adding onions, salt, pepper and oil to each layer.

On the burner, cook at medium high heat until you hear the sizzle.  You want to create a crust on the bottom. Then place the pan in a 450 degree oven for an hour.  Test it with a knife to see if the potatoes are done.  You want them to be tender in the middle but crusty on both top and bottom.  

 A good amount of crust.  Now you can remove it from the oven. This will be on the bottom once you flip it over.

A good amount of crust.  Now you can remove it from the oven. This will be on the bottom once you flip it over.

Once they have reached the perfect crust on top, carefully, and with oven mitts, place a large plate over the top of the pan and flip over so the bottom crusty part is the top.  You are going to squeal with joy when this crispy creation is revealed.

 SQUEAL!! Smaller version made in a cast iron pan.  Shhh, this one has the cheese!

SQUEAL!! Smaller version made in a cast iron pan.  Shhh, this one has the cheese!

Use a serrated knife to cut cake like slices.  Ok, here is the rundown of ways you can serve this. It's a great dish for a party since you can serve it room temp.  It's ideal as a side dish to any meat, fish or chicken meal. It's a no brainier plate for a brunch table to be served with eggs.  Or how about with some smoked salmon and sour cream.  Oh, you don't need me to tell you how to eat this satisfying spud.  Just dig in, damn it!

slice.sourcream2.jpg

 A slice with greek yogurt and scallions

 A great complement to smoked salmon and sour cream.

A great complement to smoked salmon and sour cream.

Just recently I made this again but had the brilliant idea to add cheese to each layer.  Ok, so maybe I'm not so brilliant since it is a well known fact that adding cheese to anything makes it better. Here is an inside look at that version.  I used a Spanish cheese, L' Alt Urgell, since it was the only one I had in the fridge and it created cheesy, gooeyness that upped the ante on these layers of lusciousness.  I'm glad I had this cheese as it added an earthy, nutty flavor to the dish. Use whatever you like but I would avoid any really soft creamy cheeses like goat or ricotta, as it might ooze too much during the cooking process.  

 I made this baby one using a smaller 8" cast iron pan.  I used about 4-5 potatoes.

I made this baby one using a smaller 8" cast iron pan.  I used about 4-5 potatoes.

If you love spuds like I love spuds you going to fall in love with this one.  Hope you enjoy how Potatoes Anna turned into Potatoes Dana!