Food and Drink

This twist on a classic French side dish pairs beautifully with smoked salmon

Mini cakes Sunee

This twist on a classic French side dish, known as Pommes Anna, gets added color and flavor from a combo of sweet potatoes and Yukon Golds, along with garlic and fresh herbs and a hit of freshly grated Parmesan. They’re baked in a muffin tin, so look for small potatoes. If only large are available, cut in half lengthwise before slicing. A mandoline makes for the best and thinnest slices, but a sharp chef’s knife or the slicing blade of a food processor also work.

If you don’t have a muffin tin, use a nonstick 8- to 10-inch ovenproof skillet or a nonstick cake pan, but note that cooking times might vary slightly. Be sure to use unsalted butter so you can control the amount of salt. And feel free to mix up the flavors — add a pinch of smoked paprika or turmeric or curry.

These are delicious — tender in the center with lots of crispy edges — when served with smoked salmon and sour cream as a first course. They also make a great breakfast with poached eggs. Or a side dish to accompany fish, roasted meats or a green salad.

Stacked mini sweet potato and gold potato cakes

Makes 12 potato cakes

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

2 to 3 fresh thyme sprigs or rosemary sprigs

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 to 2 pounds combination small sweet potatoes and small waxy potatoes such as Yukon Gold

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons freshly-grated Parmesan cheese

Equipment: 1 standard 12-cup muffin tin; parchment paper; mandoline slicer or sharp chef’s knife

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Brush muffin cups — bottoms and sides with melted butter. Line bottoms of cups with parchment rounds. Add a few thyme leaves or sprigs on bottom of each round. Drizzle scant 1/2 teaspoon butter into bottom of each cup. Stir garlic into remaining butter.

If potatoes are wider than muffin tin rounds, slice in half lengthwise first. Using a mandoline slicer or the slicing blade of a food processor or a very sharp knife, slice potato crosswise into very thin rounds, about 1/8-inch thick. Note: if using a sharp chef’s knife, slice a small piece off one side of potato and place cut-side down so it’s flush with cutting board and won’t wobble as you slice. Place rounds in a large bowl as you work. Pour garlic butter over and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat well.

Divide potato slices evenly among muffin cups, overlapping slices to create a pattern. If adding cheese, fill cups halfway, sprinkle with cheese and fill with remaining potato slices. Brush tops with any remaining garlic butter. Cover muffin tin tightly with aluminum foil and place tin on a baking sheet. Bake until potatoes can be easily pierced with a knife point, about 35 minutes. Remove foil and invert a rimmed baking sheet over muffin tin; turn tin over, lightly tapping on counter to release any potatoes that might stick. Remove tin and rearrange any slices as needed. Peel off and discard parchment rounds. Note: Potatoes can be made ahead to this point; cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. When ready to bake remove foil and proceed with step 4.

Increase heat to 425 degrees. Place baking sheet back in oven and bake until edges are golden and crispy, another 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm with sour cream and smoked salmon as a first course or as a side dish.

Kim Sunée

Kim Sunée is a bestselling author ("Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home," "A Mouthful of Stars," "Everyday Korean: Fresh, Modern Recipes for Home Cooks") and a former magazine food editor. She's based in Anchorage. For more food and travel, visit