All About Potatoes
Tater Tots, Pommes Aligot & Pommes Anna
Servings: 4 to 8, as sides
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
*Your Chef will lead you through all the techniques, so prepping ahead of class is optional
Ingredients for the Tater Tots:
- 1 pound Yukon Gold or new potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon potato starch or cornstarch
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- avocado or vegetable oil, for cooking
Ingredients for the Pommes Aligot:
- 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup low-fat half and half
- 1/4 pound (4 ounces) fresh grated Gruyere cheese
- 2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, drained and grated or roughly torn
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
Ingredients for the Pommes Anna:
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced in 1-millimeter slices
- 4 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter, melted
- 5 – 6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves roughly chopped
- kosher salt, as needed
- For the tater tots and pommes aligot put the 2 pounds total of Yukon Gold potatoes in a medium saucepot, cover with cold water and place over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender. Drain and divide in half, putting 1 pound in a large mixing bowl and leaving the other 1 pound, covered, in the saucepot, on the stovetop for the aligot while you make the tots.
- To finish the tater tots use a masher or fork to smash the potatoes until there are small chunks (pea-sized). Sprinkle in the potato starch, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt and black pepper. Mix until just combined.
- Use a small ring mold or your thumbs and index fingers to shape the potatoes into cylinders, just like store-bought tots. Place them on a tray or plate and transfer them to the freezer for 15 minutes or up to 24 hours.
- Heat 1 inch of oil in a large sauté pan to approximately 350°F. Once the oil is hot, carefully place the tater tots in the oil, working in batches if needed so that you don’t overcrowd the pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown, then flip and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined pan or plate and season with salt. Serve immediately.
- To finish the pommes aligot, combine the butter and half and half in a small saucepot and heat until the butter is melted and the half and half is hot but not boiling.
- Use a potato masher or wooden spoon to smash the warmed potatoes until they are completely smooth. It’s ok to mash or beat them more than regular mashed potatoes to ensure they are as smooth as possible. Alternatively, if you have a food mill you can use that for the potatoes.
- Place the saucepot over low heat and pour in the butter and half and half; stir until combined. Add half of the grated Gruyere and stir continuously until the cheese is melted. Stir in the remaining Gruyere and all of the mozzarella, beating until all of the cheese is melted. Lift the spoon up to test if the potatoes are stretchy-they should lift with the spoon in a thick ribbon. If it isn’t, keep stirring. When ready, remove from the heat, stir in the salt and taste; add more salt as needed. Serve immediately.
- To make the pommes Anna, preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle. Place a 9 inch sauté pan over low heat with ½ tablespoon of ghee. Place a potato slice in the center of the pan then arrange overlapping, concentric circles of potato slices until the bottom of the pan is covered. This is your presentation side so try to make it as neat as possible. Season with salt and fresh thyme. Drizzle ½ tablespoon of ghee over the top and then repeat with another layer of potatoes. Before seasoning, gently press down on the layers to condense them a bit. Season with salt and fresh thyme. Repeat until you have 4 or 5 layers.
- Remove the pan from the heat and transfer it to the oven to bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tip of a sharp knife goes through like butter. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes before flipping out onto a plate. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
The tater tots can be frozen, uncooked and well-wrapped for up to 3 months. Cook from frozen but add an additional 2 or 3 minutes.
The pommes aligot can be reheated if needed with a bit more half and half or milk, although the consistency will not be as good as when they are served hot and fresh.
The pommes Anna can be wrapped and refrigerated for up to 3 days. It’s excellent at a picnic or other outdoor event.