I am a sucker for cute food. Usually there are two ways to make normal culinary treats adorable. The first step is to miniaturize, which leads directly to the success of the second part — individualize. Sure a cheesecake can be beautiful, but shrink it down and give each person their own? Adorable! This is why I was completely unable to resist the idea of these mini herbed Pommes Anna from the November issue of Bon Appetit.
These buttery little things were part of a seriously decadent meal that I made for my husband last week. The star of the show was actually a Wagyu bavette that I had bought from work. A quick meaty lesson for you about Wagyu beef, commonly referred to in the states simply as Kobe beef. I won’t bore you with what Japanese Kobe beef actually is — I’m sure you all are well versed — but American Kobe beef is slightly different.
Instead of being full-blood Wagyu, it is usually produced from a cross breeding of Angus and Wagyu. In order to be considered “pure bred” the mix must contain 51% Wagyu (which seems to be a fallacy but hey, that’s how it goes). This beef was from a full-blood 100% Wagyu animal raised in Washington, whose lineage can be traced back five generations. My company bought two of three animals available from the rancher and we were all ecstatic at the opportunity to see and taste the beef.
At work, we did a “food porn” photo shoot with the meat after it was butchered. Click here to see the various cuts in all their glory — they are drool-worthy! We also seared off a bottom round (usually a braising cut) which melted in our mouths like beef-flavored butter. The fat actually will melt at room temperature which I have never seen before. It was truly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten — even prepared with just salt and pepper — and I was super excited to bring some home to share with my husband (and a few friends).
After all, what better way to say I love you than with fatty fabulous beef?
My friend DB actually had the most awesome thing to say about this beef, which was something along the lines of it being “self-saucing.” And it’s true. The marbling creates pockets of juicy fat and flavor that seem to explode in your mouth with every bite.
Whew, sorry for the meat tangent. I just get excited sometimes!
Back to the story at hand…to go with this beef, I made adorable potatoes…
The recipe calls for waxy potatoes, a muffin pan, some thyme and a whole lot of butter. The effort is minimal and the results are outstanding. The thin slices of potato cook first, layered in a muffin pan with sprigs of thyme at the bottom. After they bake for about 30 minutes, remove them from the tin and place them directly on a cookie sheet.
And that’s it! I loved these. They are creamy in the center, crunchy on the outside and full of flavor. A bonus is that you can play around with the concept by adding cheese, roasted garlic or caramelized onions if you like. You can probably also reduce the amount of butter needed without it being detrimental. Serve as an appetizer or as part of a meal — regardless they will make you happy!
I served mine with the sliced Wagyu bavette, a lovely roasted radicchio salad (to help cut through the richness) and a hefty glass of Pinot Noir. This was a meal made with love and I would make it again in a heartbeat.