Inspired by: cold weather; no real hurry for dinner combined with a fairly urgent need to use up some superannuated potatoes; tales of truffade (how neato does that stuff sound, although the cheese would probably kill me); a vague desire for rösti or something, eaten while wearing a ski sweater; and reading the (fairly fluffy, at times, I thought) article about Nora Ephron in The New Yorker from this spring, which made me think of Heartburn, and then in turn about her particular methods in it for potatoes. I didn't actually follow a recipe here, but this was basically (yet another not entirely successful attempt at) pommes anna. A pile of nicely cooked potatoes, with some hint of their former symmetry and order.
1. Layered sliced potatoes nicely and evenly in concentric circles in in pan with lots of butter and oil and shakings of salt & pepper over each whole layer. Dabbed bits (great bits) of butter all over the top. Started heat at medium high, turned it to medium low when I clamped on the lid and cooked easily for maybe...1-1/2 sitcoms. Longer than half an hour, less than an hour.
2. Removed lid and put plate slightly smaller than pan directly onto potatoes, weighted down with cans. Cooked for a while that way, encouraging the Fusing of the potatoes--maybe 20 minutes? Removed plate and loosened underneath carefully with a flexible spatula. Drained off extra fat as well as I could, holding the potatoes in place.
3. Put plate onto cooked potatoes and flipped out/over. Slid uncooked side into pan and turned up the heat. Crisped/cooked for another 5/10 minutes. Slid potato cake out onto a plate, whinging pitifully as the beautiful whorls of potatoes started to fall apart, but also realizing I didn't care that much. (I am a blotter--I blot the top and bottom of the thing.)