Posted by: acooksca | 05/27/2009

Eileen’s La Jolla Style Potatoes

In the hands of a French Chef, bananas in mashed potatoes under a golden cheese crown was a revelation for Eileen La Jolla Potatoes 1aand her sisters. They first tasted La Jolla potatoes, a signature dish at Chez Jay in Santa Monica, about 1969. Although the French Chef left the restaurant years ago, the memory of his creation remains alive.

2 lbs. russet potatoes (about 4 large), peeled and cut into large chunks
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 ½ cups half and half
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon coarse cracked black pepper
2 very ripe large bananas, peeled and sliced
4 ounces imported Emmental, Jarlsberg or Gruyere cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 375. Butter an 8-inch by 8-inch baking pan and set aside.

In a large pot of salted water, boil the potatoes until just tender (about 15 minutes). Drain into a colander and allow the potatoes to steam for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, wipe out the pot, add the garlic and butter and return to the heat. Allow the garlic to just turn golden and add the half and half, salt, pepper, bananas and the potatoes.

Use a hand masher and roughly mash the potato mixture. You want to have a textural contrast of smooth and rough pieces. Taste for seasoning. Transfer the potatoes to the baking pan and top with the grated cheese. Place in the oven to heat through and brown the cheese, about 15 minutes.

Serve at once or turn the oven to 220 and keep warm until ready to serve.



  1. Karen,

    I so enjoyed your article, and, at its end, delivery of the greatly anticipated recipe for La Jolla Potatoes! I’m trying it tomorrow.

    Thank you,

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