Pommes Macaire in advance?

2,403
410
Joined Oct 9, 2008
I'm supposed to do a potato dish for a dinner coming up. My notion was to make pommes macaire  in two stages, the first at home and the second on-site.

In case you don't remember your Escoffier, pommes de terre macaire  is basically a cake of coarsely-mashed potatoes that are browned in a skillet and flipped at last minute. If you like, you can then spread the top with a little sour cream, sprinkle generously with Parmesan, and run under a broiler, but this is sort of gilding the lily.

Traditionally, you boil the potatoes, peel while warm, mash coarsely with butter and salt, and then press the mixture into a well-buttered skillet (an oven-proof nonstick skillet is fabulous for this) to make a firm cake. You shove this in a 350F oven for about 30-40 minutes until the underside is deep golden, then invert it onto a plate.

My idea was to make the mash and pack it into the buttered skillet, then put that in the fridge. The next day, I dot the edges with little cubes of additional butter, put the skillet over fairly high heat until it's starting to sizzle, and then bake at 350F for about 20-30 minutes.

What do you think?

I'm a little worried that what amounts to reheated mashed potatoes will have a stale, blah flavor. Everyone (including Escoffier) says that mashed potatoes have to be used immediately or they're dead. I've also heard that covering mashed potatoes once cooked makes it worse.

Any secrets or tricks or ideas?
 
5,671
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Joined Sep 5, 2008
It's a tough one. It's true that cooked potatoes undergo a change in taste after being refrigerated. The starches change into sugar, the potatoes lose their flavor and get sweeter. I don't know of a solution or a way to reverse that change. I still re-heat mashed potatoes and eat them, despite the sweeter taste, so to me they're not "dead" but yes, I suppose that for Escoffier that change in taste would be unacceptable. 

If you do go ahead with that plan anyway, be careful not to over-caramelize the patties because of the extra sugar. 
 
3,993
831
Joined Dec 18, 2010
But I would not pack in pans. I'd peel and cool for refrigeration. Onsite smash and pack room temp potato into pans and cook
 
3,993
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
I suspect that the potato and pan would bond as a single unit when chilled. Plus, it's how I grew up making "potato pancake" and I know it works. The worst kind of surprise you need is to be scraping your stuck on food out of pans while serving.
 
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Joined Nov 5, 2016
As a related question to this thread... I've seen a few times lately about boiling the potatoes whole then peeling while warm instead of peeling them and cutting them up, them boiling them for mashed or a recipe like the one described in this thread. What is the benefit to preparing them this way?

Thank You.

pd
 
3,993
831
Joined Dec 18, 2010
They turn out slightly drier. Which is a benefit when frying or making potato salad or making gnocchi with a starchy potato.
 
2,403
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Joined Oct 9, 2008
I cooked them in the AM, peeled them, put in a plastic bag, and at dinner time stir-fried with butter and salt, mashed down, and baked. Came out good. Thanks all!


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