New Potatoes with Sea Truffle, Caramelized Yeast and Hana Tsunomata
THIS DISH IS A TRUE COLLABORATION. I first experienced this method of cooking potatoes in seawater in Mar de! Plata, on the southern Atlantic coast of Argentina. The technique was so logical and simple, and the results are truly delicious. [There] they served them with a bright fatty aïoli, which cut the salt and really showed off the creaminess of the potatoes.
I LEARNED ABOUT SEA TRUFFLE when I recently returned home to Nova Scotia and I immediately knew I wanted to build a dish around it. Local Hana Tsunomata with the raw button mushrooms lends a unique toothsomeness, while the creamy potatoes coated in sea salt with sea truffle and the heavily caramelized yeast bring distinct and earthy flavors that make this dish truly of this place.
- 50 g (2 oz) sea truffle*
- 20 g (1 tbsp + 1 tsp) sherry vinegar
- 2 g (½ tsp) salt
- 75 g (3 oz) fresh yeast
- 150 g (5 oz) black truffle paste**
- 12 g (1 tbsp) sherry vinegar
- 12 g (1 tbsp) prepared Dijon mustard
- 12 g (1 tbsp) tamari soy
- 5 g (½ tbsp) salt
- 20 g (2 tbsp) grape-seed or canola oil
- 25 g (1 oz) Hana Tsunomata seaweed***, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes
- 2 tbsp tamari
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 6 large button mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 16–20 new potatoes
- 25 g (2½ tbsp) top-quality sea salt
- fine olive oil and fresh thyme leaves
*available online at Forbes Wild Foods
**available online at The Gourmet Warehouse
***available online at Acadian Seaplants
Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F).
For the sea truffle purée, toast truffle in a dry pan over medium heat until it becomes fragrant and begins to discolour. Set aside to cool, then grind in a spice grinder. Combine in a blender 500 ml (2 cups) hot (80°C/175°F) water with the vinegar and salt. Blend, then cool and whisk again. Reserve in the refrigerator. Crumble the yeast onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, transfer to middle rack and bake until golden brown and fragrant. Let cool, then combine in a blender with the truffle paste, 20 ml (1 tbsp + 1 tsp) water, the vinegar, mustard, soy and salt. Pulse until smooth, then incorporate the oil. Reserve in refrigerator.
For the Hana Tsunomata, strain the seaweed and combine with tamari and lemon juice. Reserve in the refrigerator. Slice the mushrooms very thinly, arrange on a sheet tray lined with a towel and brush with lemon juice. Set aside in refrigerator.
To finish, cook potatoes in unsalted water until just tender. Turn off heat and leave potatoes in the cooking water for 30 minutes, then drain. Let cool to room temperature and reserve. Combine sea salt and 500 ml (2 cups) water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cool. Transfer cooked potatoes to a non-reactive saucepan and add salted water to cover potatoes by a third. Place on high heat and agitate pan, shaking it in a circular motion, so potatoes get coated in the salted water. As the water evaporates, a thin crust of salt will form on the potatoes. Once the water has completely evaporated, remove salt-crusted potatoes from the dry pot and keep warm.
Arrange a dollop of sea truffle paste on each of four warm plates. Arrange four or five warm potatoes on the puree. Place a dollop of caramelized yeast on one side of a mushroom slice and then affix it atop the potato. Repeat until all potatoes are garnished. Strain the seasoned seaweed and sprinkle overtop. Garnish with extra sauces and seaweed as desired. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of thyme leaves.
Photos by Hector Vasquez