A Potato Pavé is basically a very fancy potato Dauphinois/gratin (although it doesn't use cheese), flavoured with thyme and garlic, but because it has the 'slice and fry' step you get a nice crunchy exterior that makes this decadent side a little more refined. ‘Pavé’ is a French culinary term for describing flat rectangular shaped foods apparently. It's quite labour-intensive and there are several steps to this – first a baking, then a compression followed by an overnight rest, then the frying/finishing so I reserve this for special occasions when I have more time. I got the recipe from here which was derived from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc cookbook.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1.5kg potatoes
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon softened and 4 tablespoons cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Canola oil
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 cloves garlic, skin-on, lightly crushed
- Peel the potatoes and rinse them in water, then using a food processor slicer attachment or mandoline, slice them all thinly (think fat potato chips thinness).
- Season the cream with salt and pepper, then dump in the potato slices and give them all a good coating.
- Grease a baking tin with 1 tbsp of butter and then line it with baking paper. Layer the potatoes evenly, adding dollops of butter as you go and spooning over the cream so it is well covered. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper to each layer.
- Fold the parchment paper over the top when done and then bake it in the preheated oven at 180 °C for 1.5 hours or until the potatoes are tender.
- Take the tin out of the oven and put it on a cooling rack. Make a lid out of foil and thick cardboard that can rest on top of the potatoes within the tin and weigh it down with 5-6 unopened cans of soup or beans to compress them. Once it gets to room temperature after an hour or so, remove the tins and put it in the fridge overnight to solidify properly. You can’t skip this step or the pavé will disintegrate when you try to fry it.
- About an hour before your meal serving, remove the potatoes by inverting the tin onto a chopping board. Remove all the paper and trim it in neat oblongs about 1.5″ thick and let them stand at room temperature for about 30 mins.
- In a frying pan on a medium high heat, add the oil and heat it with the thyme and garlic. Brown each side of the pavé and it’s ready in 15-18 mins.
Run a knife round the inside and turn it out onto a board, then remove papers. Slice:
Fry the slices on a medium-high heat on all sides; the striations caused by the layered thin potato slices are clearly visible:
Get them nice and brown on the four biggest sides.
A decadent and delectable potato side dish: