Crispy Potato Cake

Thanksgiving is just a couple of weeks away. Christmas decorations are in the stores.  The world's gone crazy over a red paper cup at Starbucks. Yikes. Let the seasonal pressures begin.

Or not.

On this rainy day I choose simplicity.

I choose to stay grounded. 

I choose to make this Galette de pommes de terreCrispy Potato Cake. It's a savory cake, made with the simplest root vegetable of them all. It reminds me that a light meal, based on fresh ingredients, is as good as it gets. Humble potatoes are sliced into paper-thin slivers, then arranged in layers in a hot pan coated with ghee and olive oil. Cooked gently on the stovetop for a short time, the potatoes come together like a pancake that is crispy around its edges but holds creamy soft, potatoes inside. Enjoy it hot, straight from the pan, while reading a good book. Or, consider adding a glass of wine to the meal.  A fresh herb salad would go quite well with it, too.

How do you stay grounded?

I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.


Crispy Potato Cake (Galette de pommes de terre)

Yield: 1 ten-inch cake, 4 servings


  • 1 ½ pounds potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Peel the potatoes and slice them very thinly and evenly. Wash them in plenty of cold water.
  2. In a thick skillet, preferably cast iron, heat the ghee or butter and the oil. (The oil and butter are ready when a drop of water added to the pan sizzles.)
  3. Put the potatoes in the pan and spread them evenly. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  4. Turn the heat down to low as soon as the potatoes start to cook, cover the pan and leave them cooking gently for 15 minutes; by this time the undersurface will be browned and the potatoes coagulated in such a way as to form a pancake. Using a heat proof spatula, carefully turn the cake over and leave the other side to brown for 10 minutes mores.
  5. Allow to cool slightly. Serve either turned out onto a flat dish or cut into quarters.
  6. Enjoy.


  1. This recipe is from on Vegetables by Elizabeth David. I made a few modifications.
  2. Any type of potato will do for this recipe.
  3. A mandoline works well for slicing the potatoes. If you do not own one, use a very sharp knife or slice them in your food processor using the slicing blade. 
  4. An alternate method for flipping the pancake is to place a large plate over the skillet. Carefully invert the skillet over the plate. Then slip the pancake back into the hot pan. Be sure to when oven mitts when doing this.

Dena Testa Bray has been writing Gathering Flavors, a culinary blog, since 2011. She is a trained chef & ran a home based cooking school. Dena now designs websites, focusing on work with creative people. You can see her website work at She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and family.