POMMES DE TERRE A LA MAITRE D’HOTEL

 In the garden, the potato plants have keeled over and turned brown, a sign that they are not going to grow much larger, and are ready to dig.  They are not as large as they have been in other years, perhaps because it has been very dry and I haven’t irrigated them.  But they taste, somehow, more potato-y than usual potatoes.

This potato recipe is very simple – and indeed, most of the nineteen potato recipes given in La Cuisine are quite simple.  With parsley still going in the garden, but looking inclined to bolt, I thought I’d better try this one first.  But there are still two and a half large beds left to dig, so look forward to more potato recipes in future!

To begin the section on potatoes (in French “Les Pommes de Terre,” or Earth Apples), Chef R. Blondeau offers some counsel on potato varieties.  The white, round, crumbly type of potato is used in purees and soups, but the firmer, longer potato types are used for a dish like this one, as they stay together and don’t crumble with cooking.  I am not familiar with the varieties listed that make good “pan” potatoes rather than soup potatoes – Hollande, Vitelottes, or Saucisse. These were (I think) Red Pontiac potatoes.

 POMMES DE TERRE A LA MAITRE D’HOTEL

 Wash your potatoes, cook them in salted water, drain them, peel off the skin, cut them into thin slices (across), and brown them in 60 grams of butter with chopped parsley, salt and pepper.  Serve.

 

 The Butler’s Potatoes

Potatoes (about 1 1/2 to 2 lbs for a family of four)
Salt
Water for boiling
3 Tablespoons butter

Fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper to season

1.  Put the washed potatoes in a large-enough pot and cover with water.  Add a pinch of salt and cook until just tender.

2.  Drain them, and peel off the skins.  Slice the cooled potatoes into thin slices across.

3.  In a pan, melt the butter and brown the potato slices.  Season with chopped parsley, salt, and pepper.

Notes:  My potatoes were so new and fresh, the skins were very tender and I did not remove them after cooking.  Be careful not to overcook the potatoes during the boiling, or they might crumble too much when you try to slice them.  Red Pontiac potatoes ended up working very well for this recipe.

{My grandmother, Claudia Meraud, was born in Nice, France.   She immigrated to the US after meeting my grandfather while he was stationed there as a US soldier in WW II.  We spent several summers together, just the two of us, living with her sister in Nice.  She passed along to me an old French cookbook titled  title is La Cuisine:  Guide Practique De La Ménagère by R. Blondeau, Chef de Cuisine.  It originally belonged to my great-grandmother, Lucie Thomas, who was a native of St. Marie-aux-Mines in Alsace.

This cookbook was published in the 1930’s, and was written as a practical guide for a household cook before the days of the fridge and the food processor.  The recipes are delicious, practical, and (of course) packed with good traditional nutrition.

I am creating translated versions of these antique recipes, re-written for the modern cook, and tested with home-grown and seasonal food.}

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