A Taste of Paris in Boca Grande: Exploring the delicacy that is Pommes Anna

January 16, 2021
By Marcy Shortuse

Braden Perkins was born in New Orleans Louisiana and grew up in Boston. Braden worked for four years with celebrity chef Tom Douglas in Seattle. In 2011 Braden and his partner, Laura Adrian, opened their first restaurant, Verjus beside the Palais Royal in the center of Paris, France.

In 2015 the duo opened their second restaurant just down the street from the first. In 2020 they purchased a farm just outside Paris and will begin construction on a restaurant at the farm in the spring of 2021.

Braden has been featured on “The Barefoot Contessa” with Ina Garten, as well as in the “New York Times,” “The Wall Street Journal,” “Bon Appétit,” “Saveur,” “Food and Wine,” Travel and Leisure,” “Afar,” Goop,” “Milk Street” and other publications.

Laura Adrian is the daughter of island tennis legend Joe Adrian. Braden and Laura are on the island for a time, and graciously are allowing us to publish some of their recipes.

BY BRADEN PERKINS – Coco Chanel famously said “The best things in life are free. The second best things are very expensive”. It’s fitting then that the best Pommes Anna in Paris is served at a thirty seat restaurant in the northern Marais named l’Ami Louis. The Pommes Anne, or roast potato cake, at Louis’ is complimentary, but the rest of the menu can be stunningly expensive.

Since President Bill Clinton dined with French President Jacques Chirac in 1999, reservations at L’Ami Louis have been hard to come by. If you are lucky enough to secure a reservation with the maitre d’, you can expect simple French dishes like rotisserie chicken or roast lamb leg prepared lovingly and served copiously. All of the main dishes at Louis’ are accompanied with the perfectly unembellished Pommes Anna.

What I love about Pommes Anna is its four ingredient simplicity. In a current food landscape that features descriptions like “flavor-blasted’ and “flaming-hot,” it’s refreshing to be able to taste each ingredient in a recipe. All of which can found be at the Boca Grande Friday farmers market including the bright flat leaf parsley from Aloe Organics.

I normally serve Pommes Anna with roast chicken. The potato serves as a perfect compliment to the pan juices of the chicken. Steak is another natural companion and easy enough to in advance so you can focus your attention on grilling that ribeye from Hudson’s to a perfect medium-rare. Roast salmon also pairs well here, as does a fried egg and liberal dosing of hot sauce. My wife likes Pommes Anna as the main course of our meal, served alongside a simple mixed green salad with thinly shaved red onions and a spicy dijon mustard vinaigrette.

Chef Braden Perkins

Ingredients:

2 lbs large Idaho potatoes (4 potatoes)

1 tablespoon butter

1 tsp vegetable or canola oil

8 cloves of garlic (chop 7 cloves)

1 bunch of parsley (chopped)

2 springs of thyme

Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Warm butter, vegetable oil, one clove of garlic cut in half and 2 sprigs of thyme over low heat in an 8-inch ovenproof sauté pan or skillet (if you use a larger pan, add additional potatoes to make at least a 1-inch thick cake) for 2 minutes, swirling the butter and oil mixture up the sides to coat the sides of the pan.

2. Remove pan from heat and discard thyme sprigs and garlic clove.

3. Peel potatoes and slice into 1/8 inch thick slices. A mandolin can make this task faster, but watch your fingers.

4. Layer the potatoes, overlapping each other like fish scales. Sprinkle each layer of potato generously with fine salt and freshly ground pepper and continue overlapping until you run out of slices or the pan is full.

5. Wrap the pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 375o for 35 minutes.

6. Remove foil and continue to bake for another 25 – 30 minutes until golden brown.

7. Remove pan from the oven and allow to rest for five minutes.

8. Pour the excess butter and oil from the pan and reserve for another use.

9. Use a butter knife to work the potato cake edges away from the pan.

10. Invert the pan onto a cutting board or plate.

11. Spoon a generous heap of chopped fresh parsley and raw chopped garlic on top and serve.

12. The potato cake can be made ahead and reheated (without parsley and garlic) in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees, covered with aluminum foil.