Celebrating doesn’t have to include going out. Some of my favorite celebrations go on in my lil’ old apartment, with my boyfriend, my dog, and maybe a game of Scrabble. Celebration dinners, as well, don’t need to be had in fancy restaurants, where you leave satisfied, but with the urge to keep telling yourself, over and over again, that, yes, the food was worth all that money. And I doubt that even those ungodly amounts of money would get you a dish like this:
Two potatoes. Baked. Then the flesh is mashed. With truffles. Two. Truffles.
Two potatoes. And though they cost $30.00, I would never need to convince myself that the money was well spent. The taste, the decadence, says it all.
Jim and I pretended to be aristocrats and ate these noble potatoes (with some filet mignon on the side) on New Year’s Eve. It seemed the perfect ending to the best year of our respective lives (and of our lives together.) They were almost, alllmost, too decadent. It seemed ludicrous to be eating two potatoes, mashed up with two truffles, and we were close to bagging the recipe, thinking we should make a big batch of risotto or pasta instead—to stretch those high-end fungi out a little. I’m so glad we didn’t do that. Eating the potatoes was a reminder of how lavishly you can celebrate with food from your own kitchen. I’m sure we couldn’t get those potatoes at any restaurant—and we’ve been to some of the best. Even where you spend enough to average out more than $30.00 for two potatoes, I’ll be damned if a whole truffle goes into any dish you order, especially not into a lowly potato.
So, while sometimes the mood to go out is just right and a fancy resturant is the place to be, if you want luxury without having to get out of your pajamas, try this and enjoy. Cheers to a new year filled with truffled potatoes, champagne wishes, and caviar dreams!
Truffled Potatoes on a Bed of Sea Salt
adapted from Cooking with Daniel Boulud//serves 2
2 baking potatoes, about 14-16 oz each, scrubbed
1 oz fresh black winter truffles, very thinly sliced with a sharp knife or truffle peeler
4 T unsalted butter
about 1 cup coarse sea salt
salt and freshly ground pepperMethod:
Preheat oven to 425°.
Spread sea salt on a baking sheet. Place potatoes on sea salt and bake 40-50 minutes or until fork tender, turning potatoes with a quarter turn every 15 minutes or so to make sure the sea salt seeps into the skin on all sides.
Remove potatoes from baking sheet, reserving salt for plating, and let cool 5 minutes. Cut off a cap lengthwise along each potato top. Remove flesh from caps to a bowl and discard skins. Remove flesh from potato bottoms to bowl, leaving a ¼ inch thick skin.
Add butter and all but a few slices of the truffles into the potato flesh. Combine well. Season with salt and pepper.
Add mixture back into potato bottoms. Garnish with truffle slices and serve on a plate decorated with sea salt. Indulge.