You know the expression, “your eyes were bigger than your stomach?” Yeah, that never happens to me. I have quite the stomach. What I do instead of over-anticipating my appetite is over-anticipate my desire to cook. When it came time to actually make the meal that included these potatoes, I was just not in the mood. The meal itself – strip steak topped with shallot butter and Brussels sprouts braised in cream were the other dishes – sounded delicious, but the path there just seemed like a pain.
At least the steak and vegetables were easy. This potato dish was significantly more involved. The ingredient prep alone is an investment in time, with potatoes sliced as thin as you can get them, and five ounces of cheese that the original recipe instructs should be finely grated. After grating about half an ounce, I gave up and shredded all of it on the medium-sized holes of a box grater.
The recipe recommends layering and baking the uncooked potatoes, but Jen says the potatoes never cook through all the way for her when she follows this method. She parboils the potatoes before baking. I remembered a Cooks Illustrated’s recipe for pan-fried sliced potatoes that calls for microwaving the sliced potatoes with a bit of butter first, and that sounded easier.
Once the ingredients were prepared, and the shallots were softened, and the potatoes were cooked a little, I could finally start layering the ingredients. Then the tart is baked until it’s a beautiful red-gold, with crispy edges and a creamy center. In the end, this dish was exactly the flavor and texture I wanted from it, and I will certainly make it again. Just hopefully only when I’m in the mood to expend the effort.
One year ago: Traditional Madeleines. I need to remake these now that I have a madeleine pan.
Potato Galette (adapted from Fine Cooking #53 via Use Real Butter)
Looking at the recipe again, I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t add the shallots and the rest of the butter to the potatoes and microwave the whole mixture together.
3 tablespoons butter
¼ cup shallots, finely chopped
16 ounces Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled and scrubbed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, lightly chopped
½ cup (1 ounce) Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
1 cup (4 ounces) Gruyère cheese, shredded
1. Heat oven to 400F. Grease bottom and inside edge of 7½-inch tart pan (who in the world has a 7½-inch tart pan?) with removable bottom. Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
2. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the shallots are softened but not browned, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
3. Slice the potatoes as thinly as possible, no more than 1/16 inch thick. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large bowl in the microwave. Add the potatoes and a pinch of salt to the bowl and toss to coat the potatoes with butter. Microwave, uncovered, for 4 minutes, stirring every minute. The potatoes should bend, but they don’t need to be cooked all the way through. Remove the potatoes from the microwave and add the shallot mixture, thyme, and ½ teaspoon salt.
4. Layer the bottom of the pan with potato slices, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle ¼ of each cheese type on the potatoes, then repeat the layering three more times, ending with cheese. (You’ll probably need to scrape some of the shallots and other goodies over the potatoes as you form the layers. The don’t cling to the potatoes much.)
5. Bake until the top of the galette is golden brown and the potatoes are tender, 30-40 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then carefully remove the tart ring from the galette. Use a thin spatula to transfer the galette to a cutting board, cut into wedges, and serve.