What an honor it must be to have one’s name immortalized in a recipe. Some of our most beloved foods are forever linked to their muses: Caesar Cardini, Louis de Béchamel, Sylvester Graham, Alfredo di Lelio, Queen Margherita of Savoy, Luisa Tetrazzini, Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya, General Zuǒ Zōngtáng, Robert H. Cobb, Jerry Garcia.

But our favorite eponymous recipe for cooking in cast iron—pommes Anna—was first created in Paris in the mid-nineteenth century by the chef Adolphe Dugléré. The actual “Anna” who inspired the dish is up for debate; some say it was the actress Anna Marie-Louise Damiens (stage name Anna Judic) while others credit Anna Deslions, a famous demimonde courtesan who frequented Dugléré’s restaurant, Café Anglais.

Photo: Lauren V. Allen

Whichever Anna it was, the dish she inspired is a potato gratin’s crispier, more minimalistic cousin, and is an excellent accompaniment to any meaty main, or a show-stopping centerpiece to a brunch or lunch spread. Our version is as simple as they get, though we’ve added an extra layer of potatoes to make it fill out a No.8 Field Skillet.

Field Notes:


We prefer using russet potatoes (aka Idaho potatoes) for this dish, but yukon golds, though less starchy, work almost as well. We also don’t peel our potatoes, as we prefer a more rustic look and the extra-crispy edges that potato skins lend, but feel free to peel your spuds if you strive for aesthetic perfection.


A mandoline is highly recommended for slicing the potatoes into uniformly thin rounds. If you don’t have one, you can do your best with a sharp knife or use the slicing side of a box grater.


It’s nearly impossible to overcook a pommes Anna so long as you don’t burn the bottom over the stovetop. Luckily, the excellent heat distribution of a Field Skillet will help prevent that, as will using clarified butter (or ghee, its nuttier, shelf-stable counterpart). Once your potatoes are in the oven, cook them as long as you please; the more they bake, the more the layers of potatoes and butter will melt together into a creamy mass.


We’ve had very few issues unmolding our pommes Anna, but occasionally you might have a potato slice or two sticking to your skillet when you flip it over—this is due to there not being enough fat in the pan, or not letting the potatoes cool enough first. If that should happen, you can either serve the potatoes as is, piece them back together, or flip the pommes Anna back into the skillet and serve straight from the pan.

Recipe: Cast Iron Pommes Anna

Yield: 4 to 6 servings



Preheat the oven to 350°F and brush the surface and inside walls of a No.8 Field Skillet with butter.


Working with 1 potato at a time, use a mandoline to slice the potato into very thin rounds. Starting at the outer edge of the skillet, overlap the largest potato slices in a circle, then repeat with the smaller slices to make a concentric circle inside the outer one. At this point, you should have an even layer of potatoes covering the entire bottom of the skillet. Brush the top of the potatoes with butter and season generously with salt and pepper.


Repeat to make a second layer of potatoes. Brush the second layer with butter and season with salt and pepper. Repeat to make a third and fourth layer of potatoes. When you’ve finished the fourth layer, butter and season the top, then cut a round of parchment paper to fit over the top, brush the paper with butter, and lay on top of the potatoes.


Place the skillet over medium heat. When the butter begins to sizzle around the edges of the potatoes, which will take a few minutes, cover the skillet with a lid and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the lid, leaving the parchment paper on top of the potatoes, and press down firmly with a spatula (or another Field Skillet) to compress the potatoes and make sure the bottom browns evenly. If it looks like the potatoes have absorbed most of the butter, drizzle some more butter around the perimeter of the skillet.


Remove the parchment and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake the potatoes until very tender throughout when pierced with a knife, 30 minutes or longer (depending on the thickness and variety of your potatoes). Remove the skillet from the oven and pour out any excess butter. Place the parchment on top of the potatoes and press down firmly to compact the layers once again. Remove the parchment and let the potatoes cool in the skillet for at least 15 minutes, or until the skillet is cool enough to handle.


To unmold the potatoes, run a rubber spatula around the perimeter of the potatoes to loosen them from the skillet, then give the skillet a good shake; the whole mass of potatoes should slide easily (if it doesn’t, run the spatula under the potatoes until they release). Invert a serving plate on top of the skillet, then carefully turn the skillet over to unmold the potatoes. Serve warm or at room temperature; rewarm in a 300°F oven.

Seasoning Rating: Better

While ghee or clarified butter isn’t the best fat for seasoning a skillet, cooking pommes Anna in your Field Skillet will leave your pan better than before you started the recipe.

Seasoning Ratings:

Best—These dishes are the best options for building resilient seasoning, and surefire choices for getting tricky pans back on track.

Better—The best way to keep your skillet in great shape is to cook frequently, and cast iron-friendly dishes like these are your bread and butter.

Safe—These recipes won't strip seasoning away from your pan, but won't really add any, either.

OK—Be sure to clean up promptly. Recipes with this rating might feature acidic ingredients which can affect seasoning if not washed soon after cooking.