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by on December 5th, 2013

Potatoes Pave

Delicious and nothing more than stacked potatoes.

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What is it about a potato that makes me want to start licking my lips.  There are a kazillion recipes out there for potatoes whether they are white potatoes, red potatoes, sweet potatoes or even purple potatoes. You can eat them raw (I did as a kid with lots of salt), eat them as chips, mashed, in a casserole, baked and loaded with a million calories or even this simple little recipe elevates the lowly potato to new heights.

Potatoes pave are still just potatoes and very few ingredients go into making them. Just look at that melting, bubbly butter and the rosemary seeping into the thinly sliced potatoes (I used thyme the second time I made these). The technique is the hardest part of making these potato squares. If it for nothing more than the cute or presentation factor, you should try these.

Pave is a French word meaning paving stones. I think they look more like stacked dominos. I originally did the recipe from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc cookbook. I’m giving you a few links at the bottom so you can see how others have made these little gems. I think this simple potato dish would be great with a steak, roast pork, chops or any kind of meat or chicken dish. They are yummy, beautiful and fun to eat.

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Simple ingredients for incredible potatoes. (See note on the garlic below)

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Butter the pan first, then line with parchment paper.

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Cut the ends and sides off the potatoes and cut into rectangle shapes.  I should have cut mine down a little more.

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Salt and pepper the cream.

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As you slice the potatoes, put them in the bowl of cream and turn to coat all sides.

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Start layering the potatoes sideways in the pan. You can overlap a little. Salt and pepper each layer and dot with butter. In my note below I’m saying to add some sautéed garlic to some of the layers along with some of the thyme leaves.

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When you have layered all your potatoes, fold the ends in and then the sides.

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After about 45 minutes to an hour, take a peek and see if they are done. Insert cake tester or knife to make sure they are tender all the way down. You do not want any resistance to the knife when inserting it.

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Cool to room temperature and then cut a pice of cardboard and cover with aluminum foil. Put on top of pan and press down.

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Put three cans across the top to weight down and then refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight.

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When ready to fry, turn the pan upside down and let the potato cake fall to your cutting board.  Cut down the middle and then cut into squares.

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Fry in a few tablespoons of either canola or olive oil (see note below on frying).

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My potatoes were not as thick as the ones my son and I did. I think they look much better when you have more layers of potatoes.

http://www.marthastewart.com/256657/potato-pave (the video is off to the right)

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This picture and the first picture are shots of the potato pave my son and I made a while back. You can see the more layers you have, the prettier they are. Looks like he had about 20 layers as the one I just made had about 10 layers. I should have filled the pan with potatoes to the top.

Potatoes Pave
(Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc)

1 cup heavy cream
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 lb. russet potatoes (three 1-pound potatoes if possible)
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, (1 Tbsp. softened and 4 Tbsp.cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
Canola oil
2 fresh thyme sprigs, or rosemary
2 cloves garlic, skin-on, lightly crushed
Minced fresh chives

Preheat oven to 350°

Pour cream into a large bowl; season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Peel potatoes. Trim all sides of one potato to make a rectangular shape. Set a mandoline over bowl of cream and, starting with the flat side of the potato, slice potato lengthwise into very thin slices (alternatively, if you cannot set your mandoline over bowl, slice potatoes, adding slices to cream as you work). Toss potato slices in cream occasionally to keep them from oxidizing. Repeat process with remaining potatoes.

Brush a 10-by-5-by-2 3/4-inch-high baking pan with half of the softened butter. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving a 5-inch overhang on all sides. Brush parchment paper with remaining softened butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Trim slices to form an even layer in the bottom of the pan; repeat process to form a second layer. Dot with a few cubes of butter; season with salt and pepper. Continue layering potatoes and adding butter and seasoning after every two layers until pan is filled. Fold sides of parchment paper over potatoes. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and transfer to oven.

Bake until potatoes are completely tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 1 hour and 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Cut a piece of cardboard slightly smaller than the size of pan; wrap with aluminum foil. Place foil-wrapped cardboard on top of potatoes and weight down with heavy cans; let potatoes cool to room temperature. Remove weights and tightly wrap pan. Refrigerate potatoes at least 6 hours or up to 2 days.

To serve, run an offset spatula between the parchment paper and pan to release. Using the parchment paper overhang, carefully lift pave out of pan or invert onto a cutting board. Trim sides of pave and cut into 12 equal pieces; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; add enough canola oil to coat. When oil is hot, add potatoes, cut-side-down, along with thyme and garlic. Cook, basting with oil, until browned on first side. Carefully turn and brown on opposite side.

Transfer potatoes to a serving platter and arrange browned side up. Place a small piece of butter on each and sprinkle with chives. Serve.

Notes:  In the video above showing Thomas Keller and Martha Stewart making these potatoes he says to bake them 35 minutes or so. There is no way these potatoes get done in less than 45 minutes.  Also the way he tells you to put the garlic in the pan when you brown the potatoes didn’t work for me. The garlic gets way to brown and bitter before the potatoes get done.  The next time I would sauté some garlic and add to the layers of the potatoes and have some of the sautéed garlic and thyme ready to add to the pan right before finishing the browning of the potatoes.  I would also put some of the fresh thyme in the layers also.

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