I’m always on the hunt for the perfect kitchen knife. Do you have a particular brand favorite? Which type of knife do you prefer for general prep? Also, do you sharpen your own knives? – Kim

I couldn't survive without my chef's knife

I couldn’t survive without my chef’s knife

Hi Kim, I’m a Wusthof Classic series kinda gal. I use my 8″ chefs knife and paring knife most for prep, although I’ll usually have a carving knife in my kit when I got to client’s homes too.

Always buy the best quality knife you can afford. Good knives will last you a lifetime, so when you think about the price per use, you’re getting great value for your money when you go for the best. I recommend starter sets (chefs knife and paring knife), because they’re the two most used knives, and you usually get a bit of a discount when you buy the two together.  You can always add to your collection as needed.

A sharp knife is important for safety

A sharp knife is important for safety

Here’s a Gordon Ramsey clip on how-to sharpen a knife the classic chef’s way with a sharpening steel, but you can also get electric knife sharpener, or have your knives sharpened professionally. The important thing is that you do keep your knives sharpened – accidents are much more likely to happen with dull knives, because they’re more apt to slide out of control, rather than cut through the food.

Potato & Sunchoke Anna

As a teenager, I used to spend hours helping my mother slice potatoes paper thin to make Potatoes Anna when she would entertain. This simple French classic never fails to get nods of approval from dinner party guests. I recently decided to layer the potatoes with sliced sun chokes, in individual servings rather than one big pie dish full, for a romantic dinner for two (and of course I had to do a taste test myself). Verdict? The sun chokes perked up the earthiness of the dish with a tinge of artichoke flavor, while complimenting the texture.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1.5 hours

Ingredients

Potato & Sunchoke Anna

  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter melted
  • 1 1/2 pound russet potatoes peeled and thinly sliced (see note)
  • 1 pound sunchokes peeled and thinly sliced (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons chives finely chopped, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Italian parsley chopped, optional
  • 1 lemon

Directions

Potato & Sunchoke Anna

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease a casserole dish with a little of the butter, and place the dish on a sheet pan for support.
  2. Dip or brush each slice of potato and sunchoke, alternating between the two, until coated with butter, and place in casserole dish, starting with the outer edge, and working your way around to the center. Sprinkle with chives, and season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with foil, and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove the foil, and place the casserole back in the 400° F oven for an additional hour. If, after 45 minutes the edges of the potatoes are not crisp and brown enough, increase heat to 425° F for the remaining 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven, and let sit 5 minutes before cutting into servings. Garnish with a little more chive or Italian parsley, if desired, and serve hot.

Serving Suggestions

This dish is highly versatile, going well with most any entree. I usually serve them with sliced filet mignon, prime rib, lamb chops, salmon, or lobster.

Heat To Eat

I admit, these are best fresh out of the oven (if serving for a dinner party), but they're nearly as good the next day when you preheat the oven to 400° F, and heat for 5-10 minutes, or until hot and crisped back up; or you could heat individual portions in the microwave 2-3 minutes.

Variations

Switch it up by trying different herbs to compliment the entree of choice. For example, if serving with lamb chops, try substituting thyme and/or Rosemary for the chives; or garnishing with Italian parsley or freshly chopped tarragon.

Notes

Prepare a large bowl of water with juice of 1 lemon, putting potato slices in there as you go to keep them from oxidizing. When ready to assemble, drain and pat dry before brushing each slice with butter.

 IS OUR VERSION OF THE SYNDICATED COLUMN “DEAR ABBEY,” ONLY ON KITCHEN WOES RATHER THAN THOSE OF THE HEART. SEND US YOUR COOKING DESIRES, QUERIES, AND CATASTROPHES TO DEARJEWELS (AT) JULIEANNERHODES (DOT) COM.

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  • April 5, 2013
    10:16 am

    Fellow Wusthof gal here too!! Wonderful, well balanced knives that stay sharp with a quick run on the steel before & after use. I buy mine in a Catering Suppliers – expensive but it’s worth it. I’m a firm believer in “Buy Expensive & Buy Less Often” when it comes to Knives, Saucepans, Baking Tins and Kitchen Machinery.
    In the January sales in Dublin there was a full block of 8 Wusthof knives reduced to €195 – I saw at least 3 Chefs in Whites sidle in on their break to snaffle one :)

    Reply
  • April 5, 2013
    1:00 pm

    WOW! That is a great deal JT!

    Reply

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