If you’ve never had or cooked with truffles before, this recipe will serve as the perfect introduction. This is a very basic cream soup that, while lovely on its own, is made stellar with the addition of truffle salt.
Truffle salt is a great and relatively inexpensive way to get a little of this special ingredient into your life. Order some online for around $20 and use it in soups, on roasted vegetables, on grilled meats, with otherwise boring fish, or even just sprinkled on popcorn. It really is the simplest way to make your food extraordinary.
Truffled Potato Soup with Crispy Kale:
1 Tbsp. butter PLUS 1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, medium dice
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (reserve about 1/4 C. of the sliced bright green tops for later)
8 – 10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 medium organic* Russet Potatoes (about 2.5#), peeled and cut into large dice
1/2 C. dry white wine
5 C. chicken or vegetable broth
3 – 4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground pepper and Truffle Salt**
3/4 C. heavy cream
Melt the butter and olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the sweet onion and saute for about 3 minutes or until softened but not yet browning. Add the scallions and garlic and saute another 3 minutes or so, again to soften but not brown.
Add the potatoes, wine, broth, thyme, and bay leaf, cover and increase heat to bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover the soup immediately and reduce again to medium heat to simmer. Simmer for approximately 12-16 minutes, or until potatoes are soft and beginning to fall apart.
Season the soup to taste with truffle salt and more pepper. Don’t be shy! Stir vigorously to break up some of the potatoes and thicken the soup. If serving the soup at another time, allow to cool partially and refrigerate at this point (before adding the cream).
To finish the soup, remove the bay leaf and the thyme stems. Add the cream and reserved scallions to the hot (but no longer simmering) soup and stir to combine. Ladle into bowls and top each with a generous pinch of crispy kale (recipe follows).
For the Crispy Kale:
1 bunch Lacinato Kale (sometimes called Dinosaur Kale, presumably for its wrinkly, reptilian texture), roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
generous pinch of coarse salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the roughly chopped kale on a sheet pan and drizzle with the oil. Massage the oil into the kale to evenly distribute. Do your best to be sure all surfaces are covered. Sprinkle the kale with the salt and mix again.
Place onto the center rack of the hot oven and roast for 8-11 minutes, or until the kale is crispy and brown on the edges.
Let cool slightly and chop into smaller pieces for garnishing the soup.
*Soapbox Alert: Conventional (non-organic) potatoes are one of the most toxic foods you can eat. The leaves are sprayed with insecticide and the soil is mixed with fungicide, making them doubly poisonous. Most North Americans eat plenty of conventional potatoes in restaurants in one form or another, so make sure your potatoes at home are organic. Need more information? Look here or here.