Menu Innovations | January 2017

The Story Behind Larkburger’s Truffle & Parmesan Fries

The Colorado-based chain brings a classic side to the next level.
Larkburger / MARC PISCOTTY
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“When winter starts, all the great potatoes are coming out, and the black truffles are coming out, and they are just a match made in heaven. If you go in the classic cookbooks, there were pages and pages that match truffles and potatoes. My training is fine dining as a chef, and [the fries were] just a natural segue from fine dining.

“Parmesan is the cheese of kings and the king of cheeses, as they say, and it just adds that really rich protein flavor to it—a little bit of umami. Parsley completes [the dish] with the herbaceous quality.

The Players:

• Potatoes

• Black truffle salt

• Parmesan

• Parsley

“We used black truffle oil for a long time—another ingredient that started in fine dining. But in all honesty, I haven’t found any that I like in years. When I compare them against great extra virgin olive oils, I found them very chemical tasting. But truffles infuse so well, and the infusion of salt takes the flavor the best. We like the black truffles, but the white have their own application.

“The fries pair well with hamburgers, especially with our particular sauce, which is a combination of lemons and mustard in a play on the pepper steak. It’s not a sweet, sticky sauce like we see in the industry. It has culinary-driven flavors based on savory, so that’s what we try to incorporate.

“We do make real french fries. There aren’t many people out there who do that. It’s actually a very complicated item. We have potato whisperers in each of our locations paying attention to the time and temperature because the sugar content changes, and someone has to be paying attention to those nuances to keep it consistent.”

—Thomas Salamunovich

Founder and chef, Larkburger