In an ideal world, this dish turns out perfectly, evenly browned, with precisely spaced potato slices fanning out into a pretty flower shape, with a ray of sun shining directly on it and butterflies flitting around it. My outcome, however, usually ends up looking a little more, um, rustic. My potatoes slide around, and I somehow always manage to break a few, and well, it just isn't beautiful. No matter, because it always tastes really good, even if it looks a little wonky. Sometimes, when the potatoes are done, I'll turn up the heat for a couple of minutes and press the edges down with a spatula to get a little more browning. And a fried egg plopped on top of a hot slice not only tastes good but also hides some of the rough spots. - vvvanessa —vvvanessa
Test Kitchen Notes
This potato cake is a delicious combination of buttery crisp edges and soft potato layers. The outside of the cake was browned and crunchy while the inside layer stayed silky and soft. As vvvannesa mentioned I had difficulty keeping the cake in one piece, but it was easily reconstructed after I flipped it and rearranged some of the potato slices in the skillet. Sour cream and dill offset the rich butter flavor that seeped into the potatoes, balancing the cake very nicely. I ate it for breakfast with a fried egg and thought it was wonderful. —NWB
4 as a side dish
Skillet Potato Cake
medium russet potatoes
finely ground white pepper
Dill Sour Cream
heaping tablespoon fresh, minced dill
fresh lemon juice
In This Recipe
Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut them into very thin slices, less than 1/8 of an inch thick. Lay them on an absorbent dish towel in a single layer. Cover with another towel, and blot out any moisture.
In a 10-inch skillet, preferably cast iron, heat 2 tablespoons of the clarified butter over medium-high heat. Begin layering the potatoes in the pan: start with one slice in the center, and begin building concentric circles outward, overlapping the potatoes, then working the circles back in to the center, ending up with roughly 2 layers.
Sprinkle the top of the potatoes with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and a light sprinkling of the pepper. Drizzle the remaining clarified butter over the top of the potatoes.
Lower the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan with a lid left slightly askew to let steam escape. Cook for 20 minutes.
Remove the lid. Place a plate with a longer diameter than the pan upside down over the pan. Carefully invert the pan to flip the potatoes to the plate. (Watch out especially for hot oil.) Slide the potatoes, raw side down, back into the pan. Sprinkle the remaining salt and another dusting of white pepper on top.
Replace the lid askew again, and cook the potatoes for another 15 minutes.
While the potatoes finish cooking, mix the ingredients for the dill sour cream together in a small bowl. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
Slide the potatoes onto a plate. Slice into quarters. Serve immediately with a dollop of dill sour cream.