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POMMES ANNA (SLICED POTATO CAKE)

This recipe in ``The Well-Tooled Kitchen'' is adapted from Jacques Pepin's ``La Technique.''

4 to 6 large, long potatoes approximately the same diameter

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oil or clarified butter for saut'eeing

salt and pepper (to taste)

This is a very presentable dish for a party. Begin by trimming the potatoes all around to make long cylinders; use the trimmings in soup, croquettes, or mashed potatoes.

Slice by hand or mandoline into 1/8-inch thick slices, dry thoroughly, then saut'e in butter and oil or clarified butter over medium-high heat a few minutes.

Arrange slices in overlapping, concentric circles in the bottom of a fry pan, cake pan, or Pommes Anna pan. If using either of the first two, a nonstick surface is best. Place the slices any old way on top of the bottom layer, seasoning each successive layer with salt and pepper (and basting with a spoonful of clarified butter).

Press the potatoes down, then bake in an oven preheated to 425 degree F. for 30 to 45 minutes.

Let rest a few minutes, drain off any excess butter, run a knife around the potatoes and unmold. Remove any slices that stick to the bottom and replace where they belong to make an attractive cake. Serves four.