Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Truffled potato gratin

Every holiday menu should include one dish that feels positively luxurious. You can decorate your pumpkin pie with gold leaf. Serve a chestnut soup so rich with cream it coats your tongue as it goes down. Carve a filet mignon roast and serve it with big spoonfuls of horseradish-spiked sour cream. Build a tower of  cracked crabs and lobster tails.

But you know me. I like truffles. Truffles are my luxury ingredient of choice.

When you add earthy, fragrant truffles to a traditional potato gratin, comfort food rises to a whole new level. 

If you're worried that fresh truffles will wreck your budget - well, okay, maybe a little. But for a dish like this you don't need the ultra-expensive stuff. Use the less dear black Burgundy truffles ($27/ounce), or fresh Oregon truffles (I get them for about $20/ounce), or even frozen truffles, which can cost even less. Boost the truffle flavor with truffle oil and truffle salt and no one will be the wiser. I also used a truffle-infused cheese called caciotta al tartufo, which I can get at either Costco or Trader Joe's, but a mild plain Fontina would work too.

I was supposed to spend tonight at a pre-Thanksgiving dinner with a group of my favorite Los Angeles food bloggers. Sadly, not. This is the dish I was planning to share. I'm taking a bite for you, friends, and hoping there's another holiday together in our future.

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Truffled potato gratin
Comfort food meets luxury in this special holiday side dish. Look for fresh or frozen truffles online from specialty retailers.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a heavy casserole dish or cast iron skillet with cooking spray.Peel the potatoes and slice them about 1/8 inch thick. Warm the half-and-half in the microwave until it's steaming but not boiling. Make one layer of potato slices in the pan, overlapping the slices slightly. Sprinkle on about a quarter of the cheese, then grate some truffle over the top. Drizzle on some truffle oil and sprinkle with truffle salt and pepper. That's one layer.Continue building the gratin in the same manner, making three layers of potato slices and four layers of cheese and truffle (end with the cheese and truffle stuff). Pour the warm half-and-half over the whole thing.Bake about 1 hour, until the potatoes are tender, the cheese is browned and crusty, and the smell is bringing the neighbors in. Serve immediately, drizzling a little more truffle oil and grating a little more fresh truffle over each serving.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8-10 servings


  1. I've mostly enjoyed your recipes and really enjoy reading your blog to remind me of yummy things to make.

    But I am puzzled by your reliance on artificial-chemical truffle oil, and I wonder if some day you might address that? Seems like it has to be a very different effect from using real truffles, which you also use. See, for instance:


  2. Anon - yes, most truffle oil is made with a chemical that synthesizes the aroma of truffles (not all, but most). Real truffles are wonderful, and I use them when I can get them and afford them, but I also use truffle oil for a "boost" of truffle-y flavor and aroma. Guess what? So do most professional chefs. I'm told by the people who sell the truffles that virtually every restaurant chef they sell to also buys truffle oil and uses it to amp up the volume on their truffle dishes.

    It's completely up to you. Truffle dishes with just fresh truffles are delicious and often quite subtle. Personally, I don't mind a spot of truffle oil, with or without the fresh truffles. But if it offends you (or you need to please Gordon Ramsay), do without.

  3. You just can't go wrong with truffles! worth every penny if you ask me! In regards to the comment on truffle oil...I'm a fan, it's super nice to drizzle on eggs and my fav is drizzled on popcorn with some sea salt and black pepper!

  4. I'm with you re truffles and occasionally use a little truffle oil or salt to take a dish to the next level. I was intrigued to learn there was such a thing as 'frozen' truffles.

  5. Oh yeah, I pretty much want this right now.
    This minute.
    In my bowl.
    I am ready with a spoon.

  6. Gratin is one of my favorite things in the world.

  7. All I can say is that I am SO sad we didn't have this at our pre-Thanksgiving meal. Wow!!!

  8. This dish was just divine. I need to get the truffled cheese at Costco. Thanks for sharing it at the FBLA event at Andrew's home of www.eatingrules.com and for the recipe!

  9. OMG, how else can I say this?... This dish was killer, totally Amazing. Thanks for sharing it at IFBC post party! It was great meeting you!

  10. Patricia and Jillena - glad we got to spend time together and you got to taste this dish at our food blogger gathering! My car still smells like truffles....

  11. One of these days, Erika....I will be in town for your Truffleapozza and be able to taste some of the amazing dishes you've created with truffles.