Giant Straw Potato Galette

We originally wrote this entry to celebrate what would have been Julia Child's 100th birthday on August 15th, 2012.

Julia's contribution to the culinary education of several generations of home cooks is nothing short of extraordinary, so to honor her memory we prepared one of her recipes.

This potato galette has only two ingredients (plus salt and pepper of course), but when you follow Julia's straightforward preparation technique, they're transformed into a dish that is undeniably fabulous.

More on this Potato Galette Recipe

This recipe is from the book “Julia Child and More Company,” the second of two companion cookbooks to her PBS series, “Julia Child & Company.” Unfortunately, both of these books are out of print.

Julia writes:

“A paillasson, or straw mat, is what the birds' nest looked like to Fernand Point when he used to serve the straw potato galette at his legendary restaurant, La Pyramide, in southern France.

According to Point's former apprentice, chef Joe E. Hyde, in his engaging cookbook “Love, Time, and Butter” (New York: Richard W. Baron, 1971), Point's version was cooked first on the stove, and then the frying pan was moved to the oven. But that was before the blessed advent of nonstick cooking utensils.”

This galette was part of a complete menu called UFOs in Wine. The dinner consisted of Steamed Mussels with Hot French Bread for an appetizer, Rock Cornish Hens Broil-roasted with Garlic, Cheese and Wine, Cherry Tomatoes Tossed with Butter and Herbs and Fresh Orange Blueberry Bowl for dessert.

The “UFO” in the means you can use any kind of game bird you like, not just the cornish hens. I urge you to try the whole menu if you have the opportunity.

Recipe Variation:

We've had an oven-roasted version of this recipe on our site for for a couple of years prior to publishing this one.

It also relies on the natural starch of the potatoes to hold the galette together. You can check it out here: Oven-Roasted Potato Galette.

Giant Straw Potato Galette

Giant Straw Potato Galette

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

A wonderfully delicious recipe from Julia Child made with just potatoes, butter, salt and pepper.

Ingredients

  • 6 medium "starchy" potatoes (Idaho, Russet )
  • 5 tablespoons clarified butter (or more if needed)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into matchstick-sized pieces using the large shredding disk of a food processor, the julienne blade of a mandoline, or the large holes of a box grater. Blot any excess moisture with kitchen towel.
  2. Film the bottom of an 11 or 12-inch nonstick skillet with about half of the clarified butter and heat for several minutes over a medium-high burner. Add half of the potatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add the balance and season again.
  3. Using a large, sturdy spatula, press down on the potatoes to compress them into a pancake as they cook. Because you want the natural starch from the potatoes to hold the galette together, do this frequently as the potatoes brown, shaking the pan occasionally as well to keep it from sticking.
  4. Once the first side is golden brown (about 3 minutes), reduce the heat to medium and cover the pan. Continue cooking until the potatoes on the top are tender, 6 to 7 minutes longer.
  5. Now the galette needs to be flipped over. One easy way to do this is to slide it onto a baking sheet, the turn your pan upside down on top of it and flip both together.
  6. Raise the heat to medium-high again and cook until the second side is golden brown and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes longer. The galette can be kept warm in the oven, but Julia recommends serving it immediately.