All recipes copyright © 2001 Roy Finamore. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.

It’s the classic nightmare: a recipe has gone to press with a mistake, even after a great amount of care and effort has gone into ensuring that everything’s okey-dokey. Unfortunately, ONE POTATO, TWO POTATO was printed with the oven temperature missing from the Pommes Anna recipe. Here’s the corrected version.

Pommes Anna
Serves 6 to 8

No doubt about it, Pommes Anna is a gorgeous dish. Present it whole and cut it at table.

If you have an undying urge to expand your batterie de cuisine, by all means invest in the heavy copper Pommes Anna pan. Meanwhile, Molly and I will continue to rely on our trusty 10-inch cast-iron skillets (for this and countless other dishes).

Pretty much any mealy or all-purpose potato works here. We like russets or long whites, because their large cylindrical shape is easier to handle on the mandoline and gives us neat, regular rounds for the prettiest presentation.

2 1/2 pounds russet, white, or yellow-fleshed potatoes, peeled
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Slice the potatoes into very thin rounds on a mandoline and drop them into a large bowl of cold water as you go. Once all the potatoes are sliced, drain and spread them out onto towels to dry. Pat dry. The potatoes must be very dry to prevent sticking and for the best texture.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Ladle about 3 tablespoons of butter into a 10-inch cast iron skillet—or into a classic Anna pan if you ran out to buy one—and tilt to coat the sides. Starting in the center and working out clockwise in very neat, overlapping concentric circles, make a layer of potatoes. Drizzle on a bit of butter and season liberally with salt and pepper. Make another layer, this time reversing the direction of the potatoes—so, counterclockwise; Drizzle on butter and season with salt and pepper. Continue layering—always reversing the direction and buttering and seasoning each layer. After two or three layers, you may want to press down on the potatoes with the palm of your hand to compress the cake and keep it even. In the end, you should have 4 to 6 layers. Once all the potatoes are in the pan, press down with the palm of your hand to compress.

Pour any remaining butter over the top. Butter a tight-fitting lid or a sheet of foil and cover the skillet. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove the lid and continue baking, uncovered, until the edges are crisp and brown and the potatoes are tender enough to be easily pierced with the tip of a knife, 20 to 25 minutes more.

Remove from the oven and set on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. To unmold, test with a flexible spatula to be sure that the cake is not stuck at all to the bottom of the pan. Then, set a large round plate over the skillet, and quickly flip the whole ensemble. Cut into wedges with a very sharp knife and serve hot.

Some cooks like to drain off any excess butter before flipping but we rather like to lick our lips.