I think I was about 13 years old, watching the movie Midnight Run when I first heard Charles Grodin mention Potatoes Lyonnaise.  I remember thinking that they sounded pretty damn good…and for some reason that memory stuck with.  It was years before I actually had potatoes lyonnaise, but once I did, I understand the famished Grodin’s desire.  In this recipe video, I show you how to make this potato dish, which is really very simple (there’s like 4 ingredients), but also really very tasty.  Potatoes Lyonnais go great with everything from steak to fish; they are comfort food, yet upscale and elegant at the same time.  Hope you try them soon, and hope you love them as much as I do.

RECIPE FOR POTATOES LYONNAISE

Ingredients for Potatoes Lyonnais (for 4)

  • 2 medium sized potatoes (just about any kind will do)
  • 2 – 3 medium sized onions
  • 1 clove of garlic – minced
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of thyme

Recipe Overview and Keys to Success

I have to say, the ingredients in this dish are very simple; it really is the technique(s) that make this modest potato dish something special.  Pay close attention to these things:

  1. We are essentially “frying” the potatoes in olive oil for this dish, and the cooking methods are set up to deliver that.  First, the potatoes need to be boiled to get almost done/tender.  Then we can apply high heat with the olive oil for a crispy outside, and tender center.  If you skip the first step, you end up with a crispy outside and a raw center.
  2. So, boil the potatoes separately, and then after draining them well, add them to a hot pan with the olive oil, so they fry, and get that crust
  3. The onions are going to take the longest to cook, so start them first, and get them nicely golden brown.  Then start the potatoes.  You can always turn off the heat and hold the cooked onions while the potatoes finish
  4. Season.  Potatoes need a good amount of salt and pepper and this dish is no exception

Making Potatoes Lyonnais

  • Slice your onions into quarter inch strips and sauté them in olive oil with salt and pepper until they are golden brown; this will probably take about 30 minutes
  • 5 minutes before you remove the onions from the heat, add the thyme and toss
  • While the onions are cooking, slice the potatoes into disks or half moons also about a quarter inch thick.  Keep the potatoes submerged in room temp water to prevent browning
  • Bring the potatoes to a boil and cook until they are just tender and slightly resist a knife; this will take about 20 minutes, so start 10 – 15 after starting the onions
  • Once cooked, move the onions to a holding bowl
  • Drain the potatoes once tender and let them air dry for a minute or two
  • Make sure the pan in which you cooked the onions is hot, or heat it, and add 2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan in which you cooked the onions (this is more olive oil than you’d normal sauté something with…but remember we are trying to “fry” the potatoes)
  • Lay the potatoes down in the oil, creating a single layer in the pan; you should hear a sizzle when the potato hits the pan.  If not, allow the pan to get hotter.
  • Top that layer with half of the sautéed onions; season with salt and pepper
  • Put another layer of potatoes over the onions, using all the potatoes
  • Use the remaining onions to top the potatoes; season with salt and pepper
  • Transfer the hot pan to a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the top has start to turn brown
  • You should be able to lift some of the potato off the bottom of the pan and see a crispy bottom; if not, you can put it back on the burner and cook until it is crispy; you may also want to use the broiler for a few minutes to get the top more crisp.·        

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Total Time: 
70minutes
Prep Time: 
25minutes
Cook Time: 
45minutes
Cuisine: 
French
Main Ingredient: