The highlight of this year’s Easter dinner was one of the side dishes at our 2009 wedding (and yes, I couldn’t resist throwing a photo of our amazing tables & library venue in here) – potato pave. I remember sitting with out outstanding caterers (Chef’s Expressions), being slightly doubtful that I’d like the dish, thinking only of a gratin, and at the same time, being in awe of the process – potato pave takes two days to make, and is baked twice.
The potato pave was FANTASTIC. Since our reception, I’ve been dying to recreate almost all the food we chose, particularly the shiitake mushroom chopsticks and the potato pave. So, with my parents in town for Easter, I decided to give the latter a whirl. Now, my dish could not rival the beautifully tiered pave of Chef John, but it was tasty. I give myself a 75% – it was delicious just not quite as pretty. However, I think I know where I went wrong in the pretty-factor – some combination of the following:
- The potatoes have to be sliced extremely thin. My mandolin wasn’t cutting it, so I cut the potatoes by hand. Some were a bit uneven, and perhaps a bit too thick.
- A little more cream and cheese in between the layers, to make the layers stick together a little better.
- I also needed something better to weigh down the potatoes, and should have left it in the fridge longer. I used soup cans as recommended, but ended up with some uneven potatoes. I’d recommend using a similarly sized Pyrex dish or bricks… something that will lay evenly across the top of the potatoes. The potatoes should be weighed down 2-24 hours. I did about 4 hours, and should have left it in longer.
This is definitely a recipe I’ll be trying again, attempting to perfect. If I can’t get it right, I may be begging Chef John for a day in the kitchen!
Potato Pavé with Parmigiano-Reggiano
Adapted from Epi Ventures
- 6-8 Russet Potatoes, peeled
- 4 oz. heavy cream
- Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly shredded
- Salt & Pepper
- Butter (for heating potato pave)*
* Servings depend on how you portion out the potato pave. I used a 2 1/2 – 3-inch round biscuit cutter, and only got 4 full circles out of it (and used 3 Tbs. unsalted butter for heating). However, if you cut into squares or triangles, you can get 6 or more servings (and thus, would need more butter).
Make the Dish & Cook
Preheat oven to 350F and butter a 9×9 baking dish.
Thinly slice the potatoes with a knife or mandolin. Make them as thin as can be! I recommend slicing 6 of the potatoes, as I ended up with some left over.
Toss sliced potatoes in a bowl and coat with heavy cream.
In the buttered baking dish, layer potato slices (coated in the cream) across the baking dish, overlapping slightly. You should have 4 rows of potato slices.
Sprinkle the layer with salt, pepper, and cheese.
Repeat the process 2 more time, so that there are a total of 3 layers of potatoes.
Set the dish on a baking sheet (it drips a little bit when baking – I learned it the hard way!) and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 75 minutes.
Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes (for a total of 90 minutes) so the top becomes golden brown.
When cooked through (potatoes will be cooked through and easily pierced by a fork), remove from oven. Cover gain with foil and weigh down pave with a heavy brick or a similarly sized Pyrex dish.
Refrigerate the covered dish, weighed down, for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Do not skip this step. Weighing down the potato pave will compress it, and makes a potato pave what it is!
Just prior to serving, remove dish from fridge and cut into desired portions. I used a 2-1/2 – 3 inch round biscuit cutter, but you can slice into triangles or squares if you prefer.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add potato pave, cooking 3-4 minutes per side, so the potato pave is reheated throughout.