The Scent of Nostalgia
James Gop of Heirloom Fire
Thanksgiving is a holiday that begins in the kitchen and culminates with a feast shared by family and friends. That in mind, we asked James to recreate the fingerling potato salad he conjured up for our meal at Troutbeck and convinced him to divulge the recipe so you can try it at home. Inspired by the oakmoss, bergamot, and birch notes of Aventus, one can think of the dish as an elevated take on the tried and true mashed potato.
Aside from the technicalities involved in the kitchen, Thanksgiving is a holiday about memories. When asked about his own memories in the kitchen, James tells a story about his mother making her signature tomato sauce. Of course the recipe tastes good, but the reason it means so much to him is a result of the memories the smells of the sauce provoke. “It brings me back to when I was a kid,” he reminisces; the smell brings him right back to when he was a child, and can bring about such a storm, he can remember going up to his room and lying in his bed waiting for dinner to be served, he can remember what he was listening to on the radio. He remembers feeling comfort and love. And it’s fond memories like these that make sweat over a hot stove well worth the while.
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AVENTUS-INSPIRED PRESSED POTATOES WITH GRAPEFRUIT, BLACK GARLIC + GRAPEFRUIT (Serves 6)
Select a large pot to cook your potatoes in. Add potatoes to the pot and fill with enough cold water to cover potatoes by two inches. Generously salt the water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; simmer the potatoes until they are tender enough to be pierced with the weight of a knife, around 30 to 35 minutes. Drain the potatoes and line them on a baking sheet until needed. While potatoes cook, prepare the salad dressing and aioli.
5 lbs fingerling potatoes
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 grapefruit segmented
1 bunch dill fronds, picked
1 bunch parsley, roughly chopped
1 bunch radishes (thinly sliced)
BLACK GARLIC DRESSING:
10 cloves black garlic, peeled
3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
¼ cup chopped oregano leaves
2 cups olive oil
2 cups apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients into a blender and process on high until all ingredients are well combined; adjust seasoning if necessary.
3 egg yolks
1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon grated grapefruit zest
¼ cup grapefruit juice
1 cup olive oil
Combine the egg yolks, salt and zest into a food processor and blend until emulsified, (about twenty seconds). Next, add the juice and blend until incorporated. Lastly, while processor running, drizzle in olive oil very slowly. Take your time here, a little at a time.
Preheat a large cast iron pan over medium high heat. Gently press down on potatoes to flatten as much as possible without crumbling. When the pan is hot, add one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of oil. When butter has melted, carefully add the potatoes and cook until deep golden on one side, about 2 minutes. Gently, turn over potatoes and cook for an additional minute. When done, remove the potatoes to a paper towel lined baking sheet; cook in batches until completed. Add potatoes and grapefruit segments to a large mixing bowl and lightly coat with the black garlic dressing. Next, add enough grapefruit aioli to slightly tighten up the potatoes (adjust with dressing if needed). Gently fold in dill fronds and parsley, adjust seasoning and transfer potato mixture to a serving platter or bowl. Garnish with radishes and additional fronds.