Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Pommes de Terres Souffle - a recipe

Marilyn and I are both avid collectors of old books, especially cookbooks. Miss M recently found an old cookbook on eBay titled New Orleans Creole Recipes by author Mary Moore Bremer. The book was first published in 1932 by Dorothea Thompson of Waveland, Mississippi. I could find nothing on the internet about the author but the book is a culinary treasure. If you can find a copy, buy it! Here is just one of its wonderful recipes. Here is an original recipe straight from the book.

Pommes de Terres Soufflé

This famous dish is difficult for any but a professional chef. All authorities agree that the kind of potatoes used is of great importance. I would suggest the use of a starchy potato.

Peel, cut square, and trim off corners. The pieces should be absolutely even, not thicker than a silver dollar, and cut lengthwise of the potato.

They are hard to cut. Do not soak. Wipe each slice dry. Have two pots of lard. Pot number one must be warm. Put in ten or twelve slices at a time. Let them cook slowly until soft and nearly done, then take out and cool.

Heat second pot of grease quite hot, but not smoking. Have the frying pan hot so as not to chill the grease.

Put into it not more than six slices at a time for the same reason. Turn on a fierce heat and fry until they puff and become slightly amber in color. Keep slices turning constantly.

If they do not puff in a moment, they will never do so.

The exact temperature of fat depends upon the quantity of fat and the texture of the potatoes; so accurate directions are impossible.

I would not advise one unskilled to try this for the first time when strangers are invited to dine; but anyone that likes to experiment might get great pleasure in mastering this dish. It is quite a feat, and puts one in a class with professionals. Besides, it is ever so nice.

The puffs may be served on a napkin and hurried to the table, having been salted first. One may get them in New Orleans, served most beautifully, sometimes in a hot basket made of pastry, tinted in various colors.

When you eat them, be sure to appreciate the one behind the scenes who prepared them, and say with the colored folk, “Ain’t dat sumpin?”

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