Pommes de terre Lyonnaise is a classic French treatment of sautéed sliced potatoes and onions. People often make the mistake of cooking it at too high a temperature, resulting in the outside being excessively browned before the centre is properly cooked; they also fry the potatoes and onions together, when they should be done separately and only combined just before serving.
You can use olive oil, duck or goose fat or lard as a cooking medium; or if you prefer, you could even use equal parts olive oil and sunflower oil – it really depends on the depth and style of flavour you want to achieve. These potatoes are good with any grilled meat or with bacon and eggs or an omelette.
Slice the onions into thin rings and fry gently over a low heat in your chosen fat. Stir from time to time, until golden brown but not crisp. Reserve.
While the onions are cooking, put a pan of salted water to boil. Peel the potatoes and cut them across into 2-cm / ¾-inch slices. Blanch these for 3-4 minutes, then drain.
Fry the potatoes in your chosen fat, again very slowly over a low heat. You want just to film the base of the pan, or pans, and do not touch the potatoes for at least 10 minutes, when they will have formed a crisp base. Move them too soon and the surface will break. When you turn them, add more fat as needed. They will take up to 30 minutes over a low heat and for this amount you will probably need to use 2 frying pans, because the potatoes should not be touching.
When the potatoes are crisp and golden on both sides, stir in the cooked onions, turn up the heat and sauté for 2 minutes to heat the onions through.
Serve immediately, scattered with chopped parsley.
© 1998 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.