Aug 4, 2010

vegetable ommes anna

The kids are still an hiatus and I am still cooking. I had a bunch of veggies in my fridge that didn't have a home on my menu, but I needed to get them cooked because my CSA is coming Friday and I need to make room for the new veggies. Out with the old!

Anyway, Pommes Anna is a dish of crispy, buttery potatoes that has layers of potatoes baked in tons of butter until the cake is crispy and golden. I thought - well, why not sub veggies instead. So I took my trusty well-seasoned cast iron pan (ask me if you need to know how to season your pan - it is worth it!), layered a few rows of potatoes, added my diced, lightly sauteed corn, green beans, red pepper, eggplant, onion, garlic and zucchini, topped it with a few more layers of potato and baked it for 30 minutes and broiled it for 10 minutes.

The outcome was the aforementioned buttery-crispy dish, albeit with a  vegetable medley added that turned out to be a delicious light lunch.

I used olive oil instead of the butter and since I was not trying to 'fry' many layers of potatoes as in the original Pommes Anna, I didn't need to drench it with fat. (Not that you need to drench the original in fat anyway.) I only used salt and pepper to season it - the vegetables were enough seasoning.

Cost Breakdown:
zucchini: $1
corn: $1
onion, garlic: $1
eggplant: $1
green beans: $1
potatoes: $1.50
Total to make 6 servings:


  1. Id like to know how you season your cast iron???

  2. I am glad you asked! Having a well-seasoned cast iron pan (or wok) causes a patina on the surface which acts as a nonstick surface. Much better than those questionable Teflon pans.

    You can season one on the stove or on a grill outside. Inside is fine (that is how I did it) but be aware that the kitchen will be smoky by the time you are done. No biggie in my book, but I know some people don't care for it. When I did my original seasoning I did 4 skillets (different sizes) at once.


    Your seasoning will stay as long as you do not wash it away with soap. If you burn something so badly that you have to scrub with a brush and use dish soap, you will have to re-season. When I wash my pans I just rinse the food off and put it on the burner to evaporate all of the liquid. It is essential that you burn the water off otherwise your cast iron will rust. Also, when you put it on the heat again, you are recreating or reinforcing the patina. You only heat it for a few minutes on high.


    Get your pan on the heat on high. Add a teaspoon to 2 teaspoons of neutral, high-heat vegetable oil. Coconut oil is great. Sunflower seed is also good. Canola oil's health is questionable so avoid it. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Heat the pan until the oil starts to spread, a sign that it has heated up. Take a paper towel, bunch it up and using tongs, spread the oil/salt all over your pan, on the sides as well. Continue to heat the pan, wipe with a clean part of the paper towel or a clean paper towel and continue to spread the oil. If you need to add more oil, go for it, but after the initial salting I do not add any more salt. Continue this process for about 20 minutes or until the paper towel is only oily and not black/dark.

    That's it! Every time you cook in your pan and use oil you are adding fresh layers of patina, this is why seasoned woks are black even though they were originally bright and shiny.

  3. Delicious!
    I made this last night, and it was fantastic; the flavors were extremely well-incorporated together, and everything just seemed to fit nicely in this recipe.
    Thanks for posting it!

  4. How cool! I'm glad you enjoyed it! I love making food that has lots of vegetables in it - not only cleans out the fridge, but it tastes so darned good!

    (BTW - my favorites are Portrait 13 and 14 - too funny :)

  5. Oh my gosh. This looks incredible. I am copying this down so I can make it sometime soon. Thanks for sharing it.

  6. My pleasure! Let me know if you'd like a printed recipe.

  7. This looks fantastic! I love doing this with all root veggies in my iron skillet and really getting them extremely crispy. I will try this with the other veg as well. Great use of extra veggies too.

  8. Thanks, JillyAn! Hope your construction is doing better; I must go over there and check it out.


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