Pommes de Terres Soufflées

Emmanuel Renaut, chef 2 étoiles, nous dévoile la recette des pommes soufflées

La recette des pommes soufflées est une des plus difficiles qui soit. Découvrez la vraie technique avec un cuisinier du restaurant d’Emmanuel Renaut à Megève : il faut tailler les pommes de terre en tranches fines avec de les plonger 10 minutes dans un bain de friture à 130°C. Lorsque des petites bulles apparaissent autour des pommes de terre, le cuisinier explique qu’il faut les sortir de la friture et les tremper dans un second bain à 180°C pour produire un choc thermique et faire souffler les pommes de terre.

Pommes Souffles (puffed potatoes or souffleed potatoes)

According to Larousse Gastronomique, the story goes that they were accidentally discovered in 1837 at the inauguration of a new railway line from Paris to Saint-Germain-en-Lay. There was to be a lunch for the dignitaries at the restaurant in the new station. The train was had problems making it up a steep slope at the final approach to the station. The chef prepared some sliced fried potatoes at the appointed time, but when the guests didn’t arrive on time, he had to remove the half cooked potatoes and allow them to drain and cool. After several attempts the train finally made it, and caught by surprise at the unexpected arrival of the guests, the chef plunged the potatoes quickly into very hot oil and to his amazement, saw them puff up.

Souffle potatoes must be cooked twice. Once at a low temperature (325) and a second time at a high temperature (375).
At the second high temperature cooking the surface of the potatoes crisp instantly and form a waterproof skin, which will cause them to swell as the moisture inside turns quickly to steam causing the slices to puff up.

The age of the potatoes is important. New potatoes have too much moisture and will not puff, and old potatoes that are soft will not puff.

Cut potatoes in slices 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick, and soak the sliced potatoes in ice water for at least 25 minutes.

Drain them thoroughly and dry them thoroughly.

Have 2 pans with oil on the stove, each with about 3 inches of oil. Heat one to 325 degrees and the other to 375 degrees.

Carefully drop the slices into the 325 degree oil and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, either shaking the pan or moving the potatoes around with a long handled utensil The potatoes should begin to blister after about 5 minutes and rise to the top – continue cooking for an additional 1 minute.

Using a slotted spoon or skimmer, remove the potatoes and drain on paper towels until they begin to soften.

At this point the potatoes may be cooked the second time or held at room temperature for several hours for later service.

To cook the second time, return the potatoes to the 375 degree oil – they should swell instantly. DO NOT PUT TOO MANY POTATOES IN THE 375 degree oil at once – the oil MUST remain very hot for the potatoes to puff. Cook until golden brown, moving them around in the oil – remove and drain on paper towels, discarding any slices that have not puffed.

Antoine’s Cookbook:
Antoine’s Restaurant since 1840 Cookbook

by Roy F. Guste, Jr., Reissue 1989, W. W. Norton & Co.
(our copy –  Roy F. Guste, Jr., 1979, Carbery-Guste, Legacy Publishing)

“The most famous of all our vegetable dishes is Pommes de Terres Soufflées, or Puffed Potatoes. The story of their creation and the secret of their preparation was given to Antoine by the great chef Collinet, during Antoine’s apprenticeship at the Hotel de Noailles in Marseilles.

The story goes that the occasion was the first run of the railroad from Paris to St. Germain-en-Laye. Louis Philippe, then king of France, was going to ride the train on its inaugural run to St. Germain-en-Laye, where there would be a great celebration and feast.

Chef Collinet, who was preparing the feast, had a messenger waiting for the train’s arrival. As soon as the messenger could see the train approaching, he rushed to Collinet to inform him. The great chef threw his potatoes, which he had cut for frying, into the oil to cook. Louis Philippe had a penchant for fried potatoes and insisted on having them at every meal.

Unfortunately for Collinet, the king was not on the train. The king’s advisors had at the last minute forced him to ride in a carriage alongside of the train as they feared for his life on this unproven track.

When Collinet realized that the king was not on the train, he removed the potatoes from the oil and set them aside. What a dilemma! There were no more potatoes to cook and the king would be furious!

So, Collinet waited, and some time later Louis Philippe finally arrived, and the banquet began. Collinet’s only chance was to reheat the cooked potatoes. Back into the grease, which had become extremely hot from sitting on the fire, they went, and to the amazement of everyone, they puffed up into small balloon shapes. The king was both thrilled and amazed and showered Collinet with compliments.

Antoine brought the recipe with him to New Orleans and Pommes de Terres Soufflées have been served here ever since.”

2 pounds large potatoes

Wash and peel the potatoes and cut lengthwise into slices 1 1/4 inches wide and one-eighth inch thick. Soak the potato slices in cold water to remove excess starch.
Have two pots filled with oil, one at a moderately hot temperature (275 degrees F) and the other at a very hot temperature (400 degrees F). Drain
the potatoes and dry them carefully. Put a single layer of potatoes into a frying basket and lower the basket into the moderately hot oil. Keep
moving the potatoes around, dipping the basket in and out of the oil until
the potatoes begin to brown and to puff. The partially cooked potatoes
may be set aside for awhile before the second stage, or may be finished immediately.
Put the partially cooked potatoes in a basket and dip the basket into the pot
of very hot oil. Again be careful to cover only the bottom of the basket with potatoes and to keep them moving around in the oil until they are golden brown, well puffed and crispy.
Remove from the oil, drain on absorbent paper and sprinkle with salt for seasoning. Serves 6.

1 Large Starchy Potato

1 Mandolin

Canola Oil (high smoke point)

Deep Fry Thermometer

Sea Salt

Choose a Starchy Potato, (Long starchy potato, Idaho, russet,baker)

Peel and wash potatoes.

Using a mandolin slice potatoes in circles, like potato chips, store in lemon cold water to prevent oxidizing.

Dry potato slices on clean kitchen paper towel/tea towels.

Heat Oil on medium blanch potatoes at 130 Celsius 6 minutes , keep oil temperature constant.

heat oil to 160 and fry till souffle and golden, done.

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