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Black Truffles

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What’s the next best thing to a fresh white truffle? A fresh black truffle, of course, now at its pungent peak, and available from truffle king Urbani.com for about $75 an ounce. At that price, it’s hard to emulate Colette, who famously quipped, “If I can’t have too many truffles, I’ll do without truffles.” But perhaps the gourmandizing novelist—who liked to gobble the gnarly nuggets whole—didn’t have access to flavor boosters like truffle butter or truffle oil (also available from Urbani), both of which Ducasse chef Christian Delouvrier puts to good use in the recipe below.

Christian Delouvrier’s Black-Truffle Crushed Potatoes
11/2 ounces fresh black truffle
Approximately 8 cups sea salt
4 large Idaho potatoes, washed, dried, and pierced with a fork
11/2 tablespoons black-truffle butter
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons black-truffle oil
Coarse salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fleur de sel


Illustrations by John Burgoyne.  

(1) Preheat oven to 425. Scrub the truffles with a toothbrush to remove any dirt. Make a 1-inch layer of sea salt in a large baking dish. Nestle the potatoes into the salt, and bake for approximately 1 hour, until centers are tender. Remove from oven and cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon and place it in a shallow mixing bowl, discarding skins.
(2) Lightly crush the potatoes with a fork. Add truffle butter and unsalted butter, continuing to crush until almost smooth. Add truffle oil and mix well.
(3) Season with salt and pepper, and, using a truffle slicer, thinly shave the fresh truffle over four equal portions of the hot potato; sprinkle with fleur de sel. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Mastering Simplicity, by Christian Delouvrier.


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