Jennifer Jasinksi, executive chef of Rioja and Bistro Vendome, and the subject of this week's Chef and Tell interview, recently wrote The Perfect Bite , a soon-to-be released cookbook chock-a-block with recipes from Rioja, including one of our favorites, the black truffle crème fraîche potato salad. "We have served this salad as a side with numerous dishes at Rioja. Many of our guests liked it even more than the entrée protein that it accompanied, so it occurred to me that we should serve it on its own, as the star, "says Jasinski, who provided us with the recipe.
Black Truffle Crème Fraîche Potato Salad Serves 8
Truffle Crème Fraîche
2 cups crème fraîche* 2 tablespoons chopped black truffle shavings 1 ½ tablespoons black truffle oil 1/4 cup chopped shallot Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
3 pounds mixed fingerling potatoes** 1/2 cup pure olive oil Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Assembly and Plating
1 large handful baby arugula Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Mix all of the truffle crème fraîche ingredients together and season to taste with salt and pepper. If the crème fraîche is loose and sort of runny, whisk it until it begins to thicken.
*At Rioja, we make our own but you can buy crème fraîche at your local gourmet store **Red Bliss or Yukon gold potatoes would be suitable substitutions for the fingerling potatoes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Wash and then cut the fingerling potatoes lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices or wedges.
Toss the potatoes in the olive oil, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Transfer to a sheet pan, making sure that the potatoes are in one layer to ensure even cooking. (Use more than one pan if necessary to avoid overcrowding.)
Bake in the 350-degree oven until just cooked through, no color. (You don't want to brown them. You just want them to be tender).
Remove the potatoes from the oven and allow them to cool at room temperature. Once cool, mix them with the truffle crème fraîche.
Assembly and Plating:
Place the arugula in a bowl with the dressed potatoes and toss again.
Taste and season as needed with salt and pepper.
Chef's notes: The truffle crème fraîche can be made a day ahead. Be sure to cook the potatoes on the day you plan to serve them.
Crème Fraîche yields 2 cups
2 cups heavy cream (local dairy is always better) 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 tablespoons buttermilk Whisk all ingredients together in a mixing bowl to incorporate
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Transfer to a glass or plastic (non-reactive) storage container and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
Let sit out in a warm place (such as above an oven) for 48 hours.
Stir the crème fraîche well, then place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
This will keep well for up to ten days after refrigerating.