Home from vacation. I'll share the trip with you another time. Right now, I want to share with you the clean up the kitchen for two dish I made for dinner tonight. We had some Yukon Gold potatoes that were getting a big long in the tooth. And, there was bacon in the fridge to use up. I could either add the bacon to the panzanella salad or I could add it to the potatoes... You see, we also had half a loaf of kalamata olive bread we'd bought at Pike Place Market and stashed in my canvas tote to bring home. That and the end of some of the veggies from the garden and an Eggland's Best contest determined the panzanella salad. For about three minutes I felt guilty about serving bread and potatoes in the same meal. Then, I got over it. It was either that or go to the grocery. Pragmatism won.
My mom makes killer twice baked potatoes. Never had any better. I decided to make some in casserole form since the Yukon Gold's don't have skins that are amenable to stuffing. The potatoes got trimmed, roughly chopped and tossed in the cooking water. I turned my attention to the panzanella salad. The zucchini and yellow squash and onion got grilled. The bread was chopped. The cherry tomatoes were halved and smooshed at bit. The dressing got made. About that time the diced bacon was nice and done. Not crispy but just happy. I drained the potatoes into a colander then tossed them in a bowl with butter. Cream, thyme and shredded cheddar followed. Cream because that's what we had. I didn't feel like the tang of sour cream or yogurt. And, the milk was old. Cream it was. Then, I walked into the dining room. There on the table was the truffle oil. The same truffle oil that we'd used on the potato chips last night. You want to hear about those? Ok, hang on. I had to put a bit in the potatoes. Everything got mashed together, put in a casserole and topped with bacon. Then, I put it in a warm oven until the salads were ready...
What did we think? Connie says I can pretty much put truffle oil in anything. Ice cream maybe? Fruit salad? Those might be a bit out there! At any rate, we loved these potatoes. The cheese was present but didn't stand out. The truffle oil was the same. Ditto the bacon. In other words, everything played really well together.
Now, before I give you the rough draft of the recipe, let me tell you about the chips... Our first two days in the Pacific Northwest we stayed with our friends Helene and Cath on Vashon Island. Cath bought us a little bag of housemade chips from Thriftway. I tucked them in my bag and forgot I had them until it was time to repack for the trip to come home five days later. When we got home we were both tired and it was pretty late. A tomato, cucumber and Swiss chard salad from the garden was in order. Along with some salumi from Salumi (owned by Mario Batali's father...) and some gruyere cheese. Then, I realized I had the chips too. Those got tossed in a warm oven with a drizzle of truffle oil and a sprinkle of truffle salt. OMG they were GOOD!!!!
Truffled Twice Baked Potato Casserole
5 large Yukon Gold potatoes or 10 mediums
2 T butter
1/4 c cream
4 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated (we use Cracker Barrel)
2 t fresh thyme
1 t white truffle oil
4 slices bacon, diced and browned
Cook and drain the potatoes. Mash them with the next five ingredients. Top with the bacon and serve.