One potato, two potato, three potato, four–guests at this party may
find themselves eating that many baked potatoes just to try all the
tempting toppings you’ve set out.
Inspired by the potato bars in some Western restaurants, this
inexpensive buffet serves a dozen. Guests return to the table as often
they like, sampling their way through topping choices that range from
old favorites to some new flavor surprises.
All the Potato accompaniments can be prepared or assembled well in
advance. And you can keep the potatoes hot for several hours after
With this meal, you might serve a dry white wine, a wine cooler,
apple or other fruit juice, beer, or mineral water.
For dessert, offer ice cream sandwiches and fresh fruit.
Look for dried cepes (also called porcini) and chanterelle mushrooms in the gourmet section of your supermarket. Oriental markets
carry fermented black beans.
A potato buffet Red, White, and Brown Baked Potatoes Hot and
Crisp Sausage Golden Onions Zucchini Provencal A Trio of Sauteed
Mushrooms Black Beans with Blue Cheese Tricolor Caviars Sour Cream Fresh
Chives Thousand Island Dressing Sesame-Yogurt Topping Shredded Jack and
Cheddar Cheeses Butter Lettuce Salad Ice Cream Sandwiches Pears and
Apples Wine Fruit Juices Mineral Water
Prepare the toppings a day or two ahead; refrigerate. Before
serving, reheat sausage, onions, zucchini, and mushrooms and keep them
hot at the table.
Allow 2 to 3 cups each of sour cream and Thousand Island dressing
(purchased or homemade) and 1/2 pound each shredded jack and cheddar
Stand a handful of fresh chive spears upright in a narrow-mouthed
container; place scissors alongside for snipping. Red, White, and Brown
Scrub 3 to 4 pounds each (at least 9 lb. total) small, thin-skinned
red potatoes, white potatoes, and russet potatoes, each 2-1/2 to
3-1/2-inch size. Wipe potatoes dry, then rub the skin with soft butter,
margarine, or solid vegetable shortening (in all, you’ll need about
1/3 cup). Pierce each potato in several places with a fork to let steam
escape during baking.
Arrange potatoes in 2 or 3 rimmed 10-by 15-inch baking pans; keep
larger potatoes together in one pan.
Bake potatoes in a 400[deg.] oven until they give readily to gentle
pressure. Put larger potatoes in first to bake about 1 hour; after 15
minutes, add smaller potatoes.
Serve, or keep hot up to 2 hours in a turned-off (but still warm)
oven or in an insulated picnic chest.
Pile hot potatoes in a basket or on a platter, accompanied by
tongs, to serve. Allow 3/4 pound potatoes for a serving. Hot and Crisp
Remove casings from 1-1/2 pounds each (3 lb. total) hot and mild
Italian sausage; coarsely chop sausage. Place in a 12- to 14-inch
frying pan. Cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat, stirring
frequently, until brown and crisp, about 40 minutes; discard fat. Season
with salt and pepper.
If made ahead, cover sausage and refrigerate up to 2 days. Reheat
in frying pan, stirring occasionally.
spoon hot sausage into a bowl, the keep hot on a warming tray.
Makes about 4 cups; allow 1/3 cup for a serving. Golden Onions
Peel and thinly slice 7 large onions (about 3 lb.). In a 12- to
14-inch frying pan over medium heat, melt 6 tablespoons butter or
margarine. Add the onions, cover, and cook until limp, about 15
minutes, stirring often. Remove cover and continue cooking, stirring
often, until onions are very limp and pale gold, about 35 minutes
longer. Season with salt and pepper.
If made ahead, cover, and chill up to 2 days. Reheat in frying pan
over low heat, stirring occasionally.
spoon hot onions into a bowl, then keep hot on a warming tray.
Makes about 3 cups; allow 1/4 cup for a serving. Zucchini Provencal
Cut off and discard ends from 2 pounds (about 6 medium-size)
zucchini, then cut zucchini into 1/8-inch-thick slices. In a 12- to
14-inch frying pan over medium heat, cook the zucchini in 2 tablespoons
olive oil or salad oil, stirring constantly, until lightly browned,
about 15 minutes. Stir in I can (about 1 lb.) stewed tomatoes and 1/2
teaspoon each dry basic and dry oregano leaves. Boil, uncovered, until
liquid evaporates, about 15 minutes, stirring gently.
If made ahead, let cool, cover, and chill up to 2 days. Reheat in
frying pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Pour hot zucchini into a bowl, then keep hot on a warming tray.
Makes about 4 cups; allow 1/3 cup for a serving. A Trio of Sauteed
Immerse 1 ounce each dried cepes (also called porcini) and dried
chanterelle mushrooms (or 2 oz. total of either mushroom) in hottest tap
water and let stand 10 minutes; drain. Rinse several times with cool
water; drain. Set aside.
In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan, melt 3 tablespoons butter or
margarine. Add 1-1/2 pounds fresh regular mushrooms, sliced. Cook
uncovered, stirring often, until mushroom liquid evaporates, about 15
minutes. Add 2 more tablespoons Butter