The second thing I did when we returned west was fire up our smoker. Not too difficult because it is electric and all I need to do is feed it a few wood chunks and turn it on. I revisited smoked peppercorns for I had several grand ideas to work through which depended on actually perceiving the smoke on the peppercorns. Similarly, I wanted to fine tune our smoked potato bread. My half of the deal is to prepare the potatoes and smoke them. I then hand off the baton to Aki to finish the project.
Yet, since I was making potatoes I figured I could make a few extra and work on another project as well, a hot potato terrine. I prepared the base of potatoes in the manner which is described in Jeffrey Steingarten's book The Man Who Ate Everything. Once the potatoes were twice cooked I put them in the smoker for twenty minutes, set some aside for the bread and passed the rest through a tammis. At this point I returned the potatoes to a dry pot and folded in butter. When the butter was incorporated, the potato base was ready for further applications. I kept the potato base warm as I prepared the other ingredients for the terrine.
Universal Smoked Potato
908 g smoked potato base
227 g water
14.18 g Methocel E4M
11.3 g gelatin
Bring the water to a simmer. Sprinkle the Methocel Food Gum into the water and whisk till dispersed. Add the bloomed gelatin to the hot liquid to melt and then pour over the potato base. Whisk the two parts together and then place in a food processor and pulse the combined base to combine the ingredients. Do not over mix. When the mixture is combined, lay it out on a plastic wrap lined sheet pan and smooth to a uniform thickness. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for several hours. When the base is chilled you will be able to be cut though it although it will remain soft. The applications for this base are numerous. In fact, we ended up molding it in cylinders and baking to make roulades of smoked potato. We were able to put the mixture in a piping bag and form smoked potato gnocchi. We also cut pieces of the potato base and sauteed that as a hot potato terrine. The texture is light, delicate and creamy. It varies somewhat depending upon the cooking method but retains an intense smoky potato flavor. The applications for this base recipe are endless.