My first successful attempt at Pommes Souffles!

As promised, I am working my way through my pile of recipes that have been pushed from one shelf in my mini-kitchen to another; alone, unchallenged, uncooked and unloved for months. The recipe on top of that pile, POMMES SOUFFLES is a riff on Jacques Pepin and Julia Child and given to me by my British “grandson” Lee Burke, a chef extraordinaire in his own right. HOWEVER, just because the recipe has two famous names at the top doesn’t mean it’ll work. A few steps got lost in the translation. My first attempt gave me lovely potato chips but no potato pillows, which Pommes Souffles should be.

Discovered by accident in 1837, according to Larousse Gastronomique, this unique preparation could only have been an accident waiting to be discovered. But if you fiddle with it enough, you’ll be rewarded with tiny pillows that are spectacular to look at and even better to eat.

Just be warned, you might not succeed at first, but just keep at it. Your diligence will pay off. And whoever wrote the Julia/Jacques recipe – leaving out key steps is a no-no in the world of cooking.


1 russet potato, peeled and squared on all 6 sides
Canola oil – enough to fill two saucepans with 1½-
inch each
Salt for seasoning

Tools and Utensils:
2 saucepans
Potato peeler
Paper towels
Hand-held strainer


Peel then slice sides and ends of the potato into a rectangle. Run it through a mandolin set at about 1/8-inch. Place the slices on top of 2 paper towels, cover with a 3rd piece and tamp down to remove moisture.

Heat two saucepans, each with 1½-inch of oil. The first saucepan should reach a temperature of 265F and the second should be 355F.
Carefully dip each potato slice into the cooler saucepan and immediately start shaking it. Shake, shake shake for about 5 minutes, or until the slices start to bubble up. (This is the vital step that was left out of the original recipe.)

Remove each slice individually and place in the hotter saucepan. The pillows will puff up immediately. Keep frying until they turn golden brown.

Remove to a paper towel, sprinkle with salt, and enjoy!


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