Ad Hoc Potato Pave Recipe

I’ve already sung my praises for potatoes in my Potatoes & Clams in Bacon Dashi post, but I’d like to say it again: I love potatoes. Chang has potatoes in three of his recipes, but sometimes a girl just craves a comfort food kind of potato dish and there’s no better place to look for comfort food than Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home cookbook.

Potato Pavé sounds all French and fancy, but it’s basically a very neat (read: finicky), very Thomas Keller scalloped potato dish. It’s absolutely delicious. I have this thing for eating layered food and these potatoes were the ultimate layered potato dish.

You start with three mammoth-sized one pound potatoes. Potatoes can actually weigh one pound each! I almost didn’t believe it, but the grocery store had a handy scale that I used to find three perfect one pound potatoes. I must’ve scurried back and forth between the potatoes and the scale for a good 15 minutes, picking and choosing giant potatoes. Thank goodness I didn’t cause a potato-lanche.

The potato search was worth it; the pavé was creamy, with crisp, crunchy edges. It was like eating a thyme, garlic infused cake of potato goodness.

Keller has a reputation for crazy, detailed recipes, but I found the potato pavé one of his easier, less finicky recipes. If you take a look at this Martha video of Keller demonstrating, you’ll have a much better understanding of the recipe.

Ad Hoc Potato Pavé Recipe


1 cup heavy cream
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds russet potatoes (three 1-pound potatoes if possible)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon softened and 4 tablespoons cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Canola oil
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 cloves garlic, skin-on, lightly crushed
Minced fresh chives


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour cream into a large bowl; season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Peel potatoes. Trim your potatoes so they fit in your baking dish. Set a mandoline over bowl of cream and slice potatoes lengthwise into very thin slices. Make sure the potato slices are tossed in the cream.

Brush a loaf pan with half of the softened butter. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving a 5-inch overhang on all sides. Brush parchment paper with remaining softened butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Trim slices to form an even layer in the bottom of the pan; repeat process to form a second layer. Dot with a few cubes of butter; season with salt and pepper. Continue layering potatoes and adding butter and seasoning after every two layers until pan is filled. Fold sides of parchment paper over potatoes. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and transfer to oven.

Bake until potatoes are completely tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 1 hour and 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Cut a piece of cardboard slightly smaller than the size of pan; wrap with aluminum foil. Place foil-wrapped cardboard on top of potatoes and weight down with heavy cans; let potatoes cool to room temperature.

Remove weights and tightly wrap pan. Refrigerate potatoes at least 6 hours or up to 2 days.

To serve, run an offset spatula between the parchment paper and pan to release. Using the parchment paper overhang, carefully lift pave out of pan or invert onto a cutting board. Trim sides of pave and cut into 12 equal pieces; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; add enough canola oil to coat. When oil is hot, add potatoes, cut-side-down, along with thyme and garlic. Cook, basting with oil, until browned on first side. Carefully turn and brown on opposite side.

Transfer potatoes to a serving platter and arrange browned side up. Place a small piece of butter on each and sprinkle with chives. Serve.

53 Comments add yours

  1. Really SO beautiful!!

    Thanks Jo!

    steph on March 13th, 2010 at 10:18 am
  2. Looks fabulous. I’ve actually planned to make the very same recipe from Ad Hoc next week for my blog, too. Yours came out fabulously. Love it

    Thanks! I’ll have to check out your blog to see how yours comes out; I’m sure it’ll be fabulous!

    steph on March 14th, 2010 at 1:37 am
  3. Wow – these look great. The photos are beautiful.

    Thanks Jennifer! It tasted good too!

    steph on March 14th, 2010 at 1:37 am
  4. These look fantastic – they look worth the effort :)

    They were worth the effort and compared to some of Keller’s other stuff this recipe was downright easy.

    steph on March 14th, 2010 at 1:38 am
  5. Great photos! Very rustic looking potato pave :)

    Thanks Ellie, can’t wait to see yours!

    steph on March 14th, 2010 at 1:38 am
  6. This is a very sophisticated recipe! I’ve never seen anything like it. Does it taste very different from the usual baked potatoes? I guess I’ll have to try it to find out :-)
    The pictures are beautiful!

    It does taste different from regular scalloped potatoes just because of the crisping up of the potatoes. I hope you try it, they’re really quite good!

    steph on March 14th, 2010 at 1:39 am
  7. This just looks great! I’m definitely gonna try it!

    Awesome, hope you have fun with it!

    steph on March 14th, 2010 at 1:39 am
  8. I can just picture you scampering to the produce scale with all those potatoes until you found just the right sizes! Too cute.

    Leave it to TK to weight down his potatoes like that so they compress into layers like pie crust. I like how you can crisp them up to order. That way if you have leftovers, you don’t have to resort to nuking them in the microwave.

    There were no leftovers, but yes, crisp to order is the way to go!

    steph on March 14th, 2010 at 1:40 am
  9. These look unbelievable! The crisp outsides and flakey layers look amazing! Definitely need to give these a shot (and I need Keller’s cookbook)! Thanks for sharing :)

    Thanks Bethany, hope you get to try making them soon!

    steph on March 14th, 2010 at 1:40 am
  10. What a great idea! Congratulations, your pavé looks exactly like Keller’s :-)

    Thanks Petra!

    steph on March 14th, 2010 at 1:40 am
  11. I’d be tempted to infuse the cream with roasted garlic and chives or thyme.

    This reminds me of something I saw in The Seven Fires. There the potatoes were trimmed and sliced on the short axis. In the pan they were placed like books, end to end. Then melted butter was placed over them and they were salted.

    Keller’s looks much neater, of course.

    Keller doesn’t infuse the cream with garlic and thyme because garlic and thyme are added to the frying pan when the potatoes are crisped up and I guess he didn’t want the flavours to overwhelm the potatoes.

    steph on March 14th, 2010 at 1:42 am
  12. Fantastic! I love potatoes but have never had the pave – it looks like a posh gratin!

    It was like a posh gratin! A very delicious one…

    steph on March 14th, 2010 at 1:45 am
  13. gotta run to the store and get me some potatoes! that looks **sooooooo** good

    Heehee, I can imagine a bunch of people going to find 1 pound potatoes now. I wonder if Thomas Keller knows what he’s started…

    steph on March 14th, 2010 at 1:46 am
  14. glad you’re trying things from other chefs; can’t wait to try these. i noticed on the video that he suggested cooking for 35-50 minutes until firm but the recipe calls for 1 hour 50 minutes – any thoughts?

    I went with what the book said just because I find that when chefs are on Martha they tend to seem rushed. Lots of times what they say on the show doesn’t match what’s in their books. But as long as the potatoes are cooked through I don’t think it matters how long you keep them in for. The longer cooking time will yeild a softer potato which probably compresses better. Let me know which cooking time you go with and how it works out for you!

    steph on March 14th, 2010 at 1:51 am
  15. Gorgeous. What an amazing recipe…looks so good!

  16. wow! lovely potatoes and might i add lovely nail color!:P

    Thanks Amy!

    steph on March 18th, 2010 at 11:59 am
  17. i am defenitely making this! looks amazing!

    Thanks! Time consuming, but definitely amazing!

    steph on April 7th, 2010 at 12:40 pm
  18. When I cut mine into “12 equal pieces,” they were much larger than yours appear to be. Yours look like cubes but mine were more like rectangles. Mine would have looked like cubes if I had used two potatoes, not three. Did you really do 12 pieces?

    I used three potatoes and I did cut them into 12 pieces, maybe my potatoes were smaller or more compressed than yours?

    The photo in Ad Hoc shows the pave as rectangles, so I wouldn’t worry about it!

    steph on May 3rd, 2010 at 11:43 am
  19. This looks a little daring for me, but I’d still love to try it. Your pictures sold me on it and now it’s on my list — so much so, in fact, that I included it in my blog roundup of exciting potato dishes to try. ( And that IS a spectacular nail color, by the way!

  20. Wow, this looks so yummy and gourmet! I love potatoes and never made this as seemed complicated but you have made it easy enough for anyone to try it!

  21. Oohh, this sounds excellent – I’m definitely going to try it!

  22. Oh man, this is amazing. I’ve never seen this recipe before and now I’m fascinated. Thanks for posting the link to the video too. Really nice of you.

  23. Wow, wow, wow. Looks beautiful and I can almost taste the crunchy exterior post-pan fry coupled with the creamy interior. Definitely on my short recipe list. Thanks for all your AWESOME posts!

  24. Looks great! I am going to try these for Easter. Has anyone tried them with a little cheese between the potato layers? I am curious if they would still hold their shape.



  25. It looks delicious! But it must be difficult to find such gigantic potatoes. I was wondering if you could tell me what kind of wine do you recommend to accompany this wonderful recipe.

  26. The potatos are delicious, but I had a problem with the pave sticking to the pan during the browning process. I used a calphalon pan, a touch more oil than shown in the photo. I heated the oil on medium high heat, then added three or 4 of the pave to the hot pan and they all stuck. I ended up damaging the pave when I tried to flip them over. Fortunately I had extra portions and I ended up nuking them (short term solution) before serving. One more thing, the reciepe calls for basting the pave, but in the photo there doesn’t appear to be much liquid to scoop up and baste with. So, how do you do it?

    I agree with you. Did you ever get a reply to your question?

    Kathryn on January 14th, 2012 at 5:46 pm
  27. I tried this recipe twice and couldn’t get it to be picture perfect at all! I think my first mistake was to use Yukon gold, and the second was the potatoes are too small. I have to try again. The taste is so good (with all that cream and butter!) so I definitely want to try again.

  28. These look fabulous. Having a dinner party next week and will be using this recipe. How far in advance could I prepare the potatoes with their final cooking in the oil? Could I keep these warm in the oven after sauting them?

  29. Made these for Chrismas dinner instead of all the other plain old potato dishes. They turned out great and everyone loved them! Only thing I did different was to sprinkle a little thyme inside every other layer. Really a WOW type side, and the make ahead factor is great.

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