Julia Child would have been 100 years old this month. In honor of the woman who made a nation “be brave in the kitchen”, I could not resist becoming a part of PBS’s tribute to her. #CookForJulia has asked us to cook one of her recipes for the celebration. I have made so many of her recipes from my collection of her cookbooks; everything from souffles to her signature boeuf bourguignon. So this time I decided to try something I had never made before.
The Way to Cook was published in 1989, long after the success of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It was a cookbook that saw a lot of use in my kitchen. The concept was simple. Learn to cook a master recipe and then you can easily tackle any of its variations. The potato section is a treasure trove of Julia’s favorite methods of cooking them.
The grated potato galettes have an interesting background. Julia first had them at La Tulipe in New York City. She loved their crisp texture. When she asked how they were made, the restaurant’s sous- chef obliged with the details. The sous-chef was Sara Moulton. Two great cooks can’t be wrong.
The key to these crispy, buttery potatoes is to steam them just until they are almost done. Under cooking the potatoes will allow the potato pieces to stick together without additional ingredients. Then you must refrigerate them until they are cold. This will make grating them easier.
The underdone potatoes were perfect for grating.
My favorite part of this recipe was the fact that the grated potatoes could be left in a bowl until I was ready to fry them. I love it when I can prepare dishes ahead of time up to a point. Because they are almost cooked, they will not turn brown.
I chose to saute my potato galettes on my griddle, but Julia suggests cooking them in batches in a skillet. Next time I will do it that way because they would absorb more of the buttery goodness from the additional butter needed for each batch.
Join me in cooking for Julia this month. These tasty potato galettes were worth it.
GRATED POTATO GALETTES
2 to 3 large baking potatoes about 12 ounces each
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup or so of clarified butter or olive oil
Cooking the potatoes – several hours or a day in advance:
Scrub the potatoes under hot running water, then steam them for 12 to 15 minutes (mine took 25 minutes), until the potatoes are almost but not quite cooked. In other words, they should not be floury – after 12 minutes, pierce one with a sharp small knife, which should just penetrate. Cut one of the potatoes in half crosswise; if there is a raw central core, steam 2 or 3 minutes more. (If the central core is not cooked through it can discolor!) Let cool uncovered; the potatoes must be thoroughly cold before you grate them.
Peel the cold potatoes and rub through the large holes of the grater onto a baking sheet or tray. Toss lightly with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, leaving them loosely massed; set aside until you are ready to continue.
Film a frying pan with 1/8 inch of clarified butter or oil, and, when hot, spread in 1/2 to 2/3 cup of grated potato (the amount depends on how thick a galette you want). Saute over moderate heat for 4 to 5 minutes, pressing the the potatoes together lightly with a spatula, until the bottom has crusted and browned. Flip over, and saute to brown the other side a few minutes more. Transfer to a baking sheet, and keep warm while finishing the rest. Makes 6 to 8 galettes with 2 potatoes.
Ahead of time note:
The galettes may be sauteed somewhat ahead. Set aside uncovered, at room temperature. Reheat briefly in a 425 degree oven.
Make a large galette in a 10 or 12 inch pan, and if you don’t have the courage to flip, brown the top under the broiler. After a light browning on the top, you could then sprinkle it with grated Swiss cheese, and brown again.
Happy birthday Julia. She certainly was a great influence in my learning to cook, along with Craig Claibourne and his NY Times cookbooks.
Love your potato galette Penny and thanks for the tips on how they came be sauteed ahead and reheated. This is so important for planning dinner parties.
They look delicious Penny and I can envision them for breakfast (big surprise) with a half dozen poached eggs sitting atop your plate of them.
I’ve made these, following a recipe and technique taught to me when we lived in Germany years ago. Your method (or Julia’s!) looks so much simpler and straightforward. Your Galettes look delicious!
I have used my copy of Julia’s cookbook so often that it is literally falling apart. These galettes and a salad are my idea of a lovely summer dinner.
I remember watching the French Chef right from the start in the early 60’s. I loved her and learned so much from those early TV shows. She had such an interesting life away from the kitchen. Later on,I enjoyed her programs with Jacque Pepin as a guest….another favorite of mine.I watch him still on our PBS.
So, Happy Birthday Julia…
I’ve never made this version before…and they sound perfect. I love the method of slightly undercooking and refrigerating before grating. I know I’ll be trying these because my oldest son is a potato-fiend and would devour them! Beautiful post in honor of JC100!! =)
This is a terrific recipe, Penny! Thank you for sharing your photos of the technique – I’ll be trying it soon. I love “The Way to Cook”…it’s a classic and I learn something new every time I open it.
Must try your potatoes. I have a hint for the BLT’s. I always cook any large amount of bacon in the oven. I put it on a rack placed on a large baking sheet. I drain it on paper towel when done. Then wrap it in clean towel and put it in a bag. I either store it in the frig or freezer. I usually do a pound or two at a time. It takes almost no time to warm up when taken out of the freezer. I usually use it with in 1-3 weeks. This works wonderfuly when having guest. There is little bacon smell when done in the oven and the mess is much less than when cooking bacon on a stove.
Yum, I could eat them right now – I’m starving and trying to go easy on what I eat these days – also out walking a bit more when it drops below 90!
Hugs – Mary
Yum!! Love Julia.
I see a few of my Julia lover friends here! Love your recipe and I’ll give it a try! It looks delicious! I also did a Julia pst! Please stop by and read it when you have a moment. Have a great day!