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Truffle Mashed Potatoes

MyCookbook Recipe Database
MyCookbook Member: MarthasArchive
Recipe Category: Side Dish
Recipe Preparation Level: easy
    One might think mashed potatoes, perfect in their simplicity, could not possibly be improved upon. Think again. Think truffles. Franck Deletrain, executive chef of Patroon in New York City, shares his recipe for mashed potatoes with black truffles, which uses truffles three ways: trimmings, as paper-thin shavings, and in melted truffle butter. Deletrain serves these mashed potatoes with a succulent roast chicken or a magnificent 36-ounce porterhouse steak for two.

    Follow Deletrain's tips for perfect mashed potatoes: Rinse the cubed potatoes before cooking to remove excess starch. To get the ideal texture for mashed potatoes, Franck runs the cooked potatoes through a food mill before blending them with the other ingredients in a standing mixer. Take care not to overbeat the potatoes, which produces a gummy texture.

    So why are truffles -- these lumpy, bumpy, slightly unattractive fungi -- among the world's most rare and expensive foods? Because truffles infuse other foods, such as risotto, omelets, and mashed potatoes, with an incomparable pungent earthy flavor. A truffle hunter, known as a caveur or rabassier in France, must rely on specially trained dogs or pigs to locate these subterranean treasures. They grow three to twelve inches beneath the ground near the roots of a tree, usually an oak.

    There are about seventy kinds of true truffles (Tuber), including white and pure black (Tuber melanosporum). The black summer truffle (Tuber aestivum) used in this recipe, often called the cook's truffle, has a black skin and white interior. To store fresh truffles, cover them with raw rice or whole eggs, and keep in the refrigerator for up to three days. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

    Makes 4 servings

    4 medium Idaho potatoes, about 4 pounds, peeled, cubed and rinsed
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 medium black summer truffle (about 1/2 ounce)
    1 cup milk
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1 ounce prepared truffle butter
    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 cup leeks, white and pale green sections only, chopped (2 leeks)
    3 teaspoons chopped chives
    Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

    1. Fill a medium saucepan with potatoes, add water to cover, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, trim black skin from truffle with a paring knife, and chop finely, saving the trimmings. Using a truffle slicer or Japanese mandoline, thinly slice the truffle and reserve.

    2. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter over low heat until the butter has melted. Drain the potatoes into a colander. Put potatoes through a food mill and transfer to an electric standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. On low speed, combine potatoes and milk mixture until no lumps remain; be careful not to beat any more than needed to do that. Add truffle butter and combine.

    3. In a small skillet over medium heat, sauté leeks in 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add reserved truffle trimmings and sauté for about 1 minute, until truffle is tender. Transfer leeks and truffles and 2 teaspoons chives to potatoes and combine. Remove to a serving bowl and sprinkle with remaining chives. In the same skillet over medium low heat, quickly sauté the sliced truffles in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil for about 1 minute. Garnish potatoes with sliced truffles and serve immediately.

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