by Steven Doyle
Yesterday Chef DJ Quintanilla at Resto Gastro Bistro sent word that he is now making pommes soufflé, one of my very favorite incarnations of the potato. This is an elegant dish that is simple to make but a bit more difficult to master.
Pomes Souffle were accidentally discovered in 1837 during the inauguration of a new railway line from Paris to Saint-Germain-en-Lay. A luncheon was scheduled for the dignitaries at the restaurant in the new station and 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 the guests did not arrive on time due to the rail difficulties.
Legend has it that the chef had to remove the half cooked potatoes and allow them to drain and cool. The train eventually made it up the descent so the chef added the potatoes quickly into hot oil, and to his surprise they puffed.
Antoines in New Orleans also likes to take credit for the potato dish they still serve called and Pommes de Terre Souffles. They are also generally credited for Oysters Rockefeller, Eggs Sardou that wonderful dish that has everything fantastic added including truffles, artichokes, anchovies and a Hollandaise sauce.
You can make your own pommes soufflé at home by thinly slicing the potato then frying twice. The first time the potatoes are fried in 300°F oil. After cooling, they’re fried in 375°F or until they inflate and turn golden brown. The second fry seals the potato and traps in the moisture that causes the puff, similar to the science behind popcorn.
Whoever came up with the first plate of pommes soufflé, they are certainly delicious, and deservedly belong on a special Valentine’s menu, and a new bar menu at Trinity Groves Resto Gastro Bistro.