Truffle slicer. (Lori Shepler / Los Angeles…)
Fresh winter truffles are in season, and if you've managed to score one of the world's more expensive foods, odds are you can't wait to showcase it over something special.
There's no better way to show off that pricey fungus than with an official truffle slicer (also known as a truffle shaver). A flat, smooth -- and often stylishly sleek -- plane is fitted with an adjustable blade, allowing you to shave your fragrant truffles into paper-thin slices for a most luxurious garnish.
Prices vary by make and model, but a basic truffle slicer should run you no more than $25. When truffles are out of season, use it to shave chocolate (an equally luxurious garnish, in my humble opinion).
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Luxurious potato puree
Total time: 50 minutes, plus overnight infusing
Note: Black winter truffles are available online at www.plantin.com. Use the best quality butter you can find. Truffles lose their flavor quickly, so order them to arrive just when you want to use them, one or two days before serving this dish. Store them in a sealed container with a few eggs or Arborio rice; the truffle flavor will permeate them. If you don't have a truffle shaver, a very sharp vegetable peeler works fine.
1 (1½-ounce) black winter truffle, divided
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes
1 cup half-and-half
1. One or two days before you want to serve the potatoes, make truffle butter. Use a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife to peel part of the truffle, then mince about half of it, and measure it. You want 3 tablespoons. If you don't have enough, mince a little more. Store the rest of the truffle until needed. Combine the truffle and the butter, mixing thoroughly, then roll it into a log in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least overnight.
2. Scrub but don't peel the potatoes. Place them in a large saucepan, cover them with water by about an inch and add enough salt to the water to make it taste like the sea. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook the potatoes on a low boil until they're just tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 to 30 minutes. Bring the half-and-half to a simmer in a small pan over medium-high heat; once it simmers, turn the heat to very low.
3. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool a little. Cut the cold truffle butter in small pieces. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them. Clean the pan, place it over low heat, and put the potatoes through a potato ricer into the pan. Add half the hot half-and-half and stir, then add the butter a few pieces at a time, stirring to incorporate. Add additional half-and-half in stages with the butter, alternating as each is incorporated to achieve the desired consistency. Season to taste with additional salt. Serve immediately, shaving more truffle over each diner's portion at the table.
Each serving: 357 calories; 5 grams protein; 32 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 24 grams fat; 15 grams saturated fat; 67 mg. cholesterol; 33 mg. sodium.