Seal the Russet potato in a vacuum bag or Ziploc Freezer bag, Process sous vide @
Cold shock to 70F/21C in cold or iced water, refrigerate @40F/4C until use. Remove from bag and peel. In this state, the potato is firm enough that a peeler can be used. I like to use what is called a “Swiss Peeler,” available on line, etc. Very handy for many things. Every cook should have one. Most don’t, for fear of being assigned to the task of peeling a LOT of potatoes.
Remove the peel. Perfection is not required. Remove any dark spots. Using the peeler, cut thin slices of the potato, as shown below. This is just about the easiest way to do this, and safer than a mandolin.
Make the slices as large as possible, but eventually you will be left with narrow ones. That’s fine, include them all.
Handle the potatoes as little as possible. Sprinkle some salt and pepper, and then the flour. Toss together very lightly, so as not to break the potatoes any more than necessary. Some of them will break, do not let it frustrate you.
Sprinkle the butter over the top, and then the cream. You can mix together with your hands, but it’s really not necessary.
Use a heat proof container that is approx. 5″x5″x3″, or thereabouts. It should be small enough that the potato should just barely fit in. Spray your container with Pam or the equivalent, and just lay pinches of the potato mixture into it. There is no need to attempt to “arrange” the slices, let gravity do that for you.
A vacuum chamber makes this extremely easy, but vacuum chambers are not necessary to make this. A Foodsaver device will work adequately. If none is available, a Ziploc freezer bag will also work. Put the container in the Ziploc bag, and push on the potatoes with your fingers to flatten and to remove as much air as possible. Not to worry. The potatoes can also be compressed AFTER processing. Process the potatoes @
Give them plenty of time for the flour to cook through. Better to go 3 hours than to attempt to rush it. After the time has elapsed, cold shock the entire package in cold/iced water to 70F/21C. If you are using a Ziploc bag, you can apply some pressure to the top of the potatoes with your fingers again to push it down a little.
Stand the container up right in the refrigerator and cool to 40F/4C. This is very important. The colder the potatoes are, the easier it is to get them out of the container in one piece! Waiting overnight is a great idea.
Once thoroughly chilled, remove from bag, and slip a rubber spatula or even a table knife between the potatoes and the container. Slide it around the sides and corners. Turn the container over, and jiggle it a little, and the potatoes should come out. You may need to tilt the container and use the spatula to “help” the potatoes. Even if you experience a little breakage, you can put it back together.
Use a very sharp knife to square the block, and cut into cubes. Like the ones below, they may not be perfectly shaped, practice improves the consistency.
Roast in the oven to heat, or, if you are brave, you can fry them in the pan.
These are not only visually stunning, they are very delicious. One potato can serve up to four people, but everybody will want more for sure. Top with parsley, drizzle with butter and sauce of your choice, grate some cheese on top, these are very versatile.
Some chefs put additional ingredients inside the layers. The more you put in, the more likely the potatoes are to fall apart. I prefer to apply elaborate finishing touches as needed. Usually, not needed. These are really good!
Money! These potatoes will go with almost anything, and really dress up hearty meat dishes that need a little bit of elegance added. I serve them with the Pastrami Steak outlined on this site, and I had them recently with Hot Smoked Trout, equally excellent!