Right around the time I started this blog, I stumbled upon Pham Fatale’s site, and fell in love with it. The site’s name is a perfect choice for someone called Pham and who looks as gorgeous as she does… But what captured me for good was her multi-cultural style of cooking. Keep in mind that she was born in Paris, with parents who emigrated from Vietnam in the mid-70s. To make things even more interesting, she married a man who is also the son of immigrants, his parents came from India. If that does not make for an amazing array of recipes, I don’t know what would. Check her site and you will also be smitten by it, she is an amazing photographer and her recipes quite creative and unique. Jackie is a busy bee – she has a young baby, and cooks for a large family that includes teenagers with dietary restrictions – but even with such intense life she managed to publish her first cookbook. I asked her permission to publish a recipe from it, as well as write a little review. The book is called Haute Potato, and it includes 75 gourmet recipes using this “humble” vegetable. In Jackie’s hands, the potato is anything but humble!
POTATO GALLETES A L’ALSACIENNE
(reprinted with permission from Jacqueline Pham)
2 pounds Russet potatoes
1 lemon, freshly squeezed
2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
4 shallots, chopped
1 piece of leek (3 inches), white part only, chopped
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 + 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup canola oil, as needed
Prepare the potatoes: wash and peel the potatoes. Shred 2/3 of them and place in a large mixing bow. Add the lemon juice and cover with cold water. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and discard the liquid. Place all the shredded potatoes in a cheesecloth and remove as much excess wter as possible, than pat dry with paper towels. Pace inside a large bowl. Coarsely chop the remaining 1/3 of the potatoes and place them into the bowl of a food processor. Add the parsley, shallots, and leek. Pulse into a smooth raw puree. Add the mixture to the shredded potatoes.
Make the batter: in a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the cayenne pepper and the flour for 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly thickened. Add the nutmeg and baking powder. Add this egg mixture to the potatoes. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Stir well to combine.
Fry the galettes: heat the oil over high heat in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan. You should have 1 inch of oil in the pan, so use as much oil as needed for that. Form small flattened patties with the potatoes (if you have disposable gloves, they work well if you grease them lightly with oil). When the oil is very hot, drop the patties into it, making sure they don’t touch each other. Lower the heat if they seem to brown too fast, and cook them for 5 to 8 minutes, until browned on the first side, then flip them and cook for about 3 more minutes on the second side. Season them with a little extra salt as you remove them from the pan and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil. You can fry them and keep them warm in a low oven until serving time.
(makes 6 servings, about 12 galettes).
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: I made one small modification to th recipe, and that was to add about 4 times as much parsley as it called for, which explains that my galettes had a bit more of a green aura than Jackie intended to. Let’s not delve too deeply into the issue. Suffice to say that I prepared the parsley to use in two different venues, and some unexpected firing of neuronal cells made me dump the full amount into the food processor. No harm was done to the galettes as far as taste is concerned. The key to the great texture of these fritters is the use of potato in two forms: grated and processed into a paste. It gives the galettes a very creamy and pleasant texture.
ABOUT HAUTE POTATO, THE COOKBOOK… I love the way the chapters are divided in an unorthodox way. Each chapter gives one type of “outcome” for the potato. Here is a list of them with one example of a tempting recipe found in it.
Chapter 1: Refreshing… Vietnamese-Style Shrimp and Potato Salad
Chapter 2: Decadent… Prosciutto-Wrapped Fig and Gnocchi Bites
Chapter 3: Cheesy…. Pine Nut, Chevre, and Potato Cigars with Lemon-Caper Sauce (this one a favorite of Jackie’s family)
Chapter 4: Crispy & Crunchy… Oven Sweet Potato Fries with Pineapple-Mango Aioli
Chapter 5: Creamy… Brie Cheese and Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes (and Sally feels a little faint….)
Chapter 6: Spicy… Traditional Samosa
Chapter 7: Sweet… Sweet Potato and Matcha Green Tea Creme Brulee
I had a hard time deciding on a recipe to blog about, and almost went with her carrot and potato souffle, but since we very rarely make fried foods, I took the opportunity to try her galettes. I am definitely making the souffle next, and the potato cigars will be on our menu next time we entertain. Jackie said they disappear quickly whenever she makes them, and are the number 1 request of friends who were lucky enough to try them…
This is a cookbook that will please anyone who likes to make their meals a little more special. However, even a cook without too much experience will be able to make most recipes, as they are very well explained. Some recipes are published in her blog, but most are exclusive to the book. You can find it at amazon.com, and in bookstores everywhere! I wish Jackie great success in her first adventure as a cookbook author, and look forward to her next cookbook!
ONE YEAR AGO: Caramelized Carrot Soup
TWO YEARS AGO: Miso-Grilled Shrimp
THREE YEARS AGO: Pain Poilane