TRUFFLE POTATO GRATIN
Seriously disappointed that I couldn't join a group of friends on their truffle hunting adventure in Umbria, I began filling my kitchen with the smell of truffles. These potatoes are rich and delicious. Other than a glass of dry Prosecco, I'm satisfied with just a fork and napkin. Other less glutinous folk, however, may want more of a complete meal. Roast chicken and a simply dressed salad keep good company with this starchy delight.
Nota bene: An inexpensive CUT RESISTANT GLOVE AND MANDOLINE helps keep the potato slices uniform so they cook evenly. It also speeds up the process of slicing so many potatoes. This recipe can be easily doubled. Rich and delicious, it feeds a large crowd--double the recipe and make on a half sheet baking tray. A traditional gratin may also be made by leaving out the truffle salt and truffle butter, and rubbing the dish with garlic before layering the potatoes. LEBLANC TRUFFLE OIL is a fine substitute for truffle butter. May be made and baked a day in advance. Simple remove from the oven 10 minutes early, cool, cover and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator an hour before reheating. Reheat for 15 minutes (or until heated through) in a 350 degree F. preheated oven.
4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups finely grated Gruyère cheese
2 ounces of black truffle butter (or truffle oil)
1 (8 ounce) tub of crème fraîche, warmed to thin
2 teaspoon truffle sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Rub the bottom and sides of a 10 x 12 inch rectangular oven safe dish, or a 12 inch round cast iron skillet, with two teaspoons of the truffle butter.
3. Layer the potatoes in a single layer, slightly overlapping the potatoes across the bottom of the dish.
4. Sprinkle the first layer of overlapping potatoes with 1/3 of the Gruyère, 1/3 of the crème fraîche, and a sprinkling of truffle salt and white pepper. Repeat twice more--you may have a few slices left over depending on how they were overlapped, or the size of the potatoes. No worries. The baking dish should comfortably hold three layers of potatoes.
5. Dot the top with the remaining truffle butter.
5. Place the dish in the oven and bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are crispy and golden on top. Let cool 5 minutes, cut into squares or pie wedges with a metal spatula.