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Every few weeks myself and some girlfriends get together to have lunch and exchange books that we can recommend to one another. What started as a literary meeting with lunch has now evolved into a culinary exchange as well. Each person contributes a dish, and with the minimum of consultation it all works well together.

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This week our hostess Doris decided to salt a loin of pork for the lunch and suggested I bring a potato dish. I immediately thought of Potatoes Anna. Similar to the better known Dauphinoise, but lighter and with a flavour as strong as the cheese that is used in it.

Lynda made a tangy salad of prawns, mango, red onions and leaves, dressed with sweet chilli sauce and lime. Corrine courgettes with a spicy rice and tomato stuffing. A beetroot jelly to go with the ham completed our main course. All delicious.

Dessert was a plum pie made by Pat served with vanilla ice cream.

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POTATOES ANNA

Floury potatoes – about 150 grams per person

Chicken stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Firm cheese –  pecorino, emmental or parmesan

Peel the potatoes and slice as finely as you can. A mandolin or the slicer on the food processor is ideal for this.

You will need a shallow oven proof dish of the size suitable for the number of portions you are making.

Lay a single layer of slightly overlapping potatoes in the dish. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and grate over a thin layer of cheese.

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Continue with the layers of potatoes, seasoning and cheese. It is worth at this point putting on one side enough nice evenly sized slices for the last layer.

On the last layer concentrate on prettily overlapping the potatoes. Don’t season straight away.

Heat the stock until simmering. Pour over the potatoes until just level with the top layer.

Season and spread a thicker layer of cheese onto this last layer.

Cover with tin foil and put in an oven preheated to 200 centigrade. Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the tin foil from the potatoes and put the dish back into the oven for a further 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown.

Let rest in the dish for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

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