• Crack the clay at the table to reveal your potato surprise. (Justin North)Source: Justin North

Taking inspiration from his local potato farmers, Norman and Robyn, Justin North uses their baby potatoes, as small as the size of your fingernail to create this exciting dish. Crack the clay at the table to reveal your potato surprise.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 1 tbsp rendered duck fat
  • 2 cups thumbnail-sized potatoes, or baby potatoes, cut into 1½ cm cubes, skin on, blanched
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • pinch of flake salt
  • 6 slices fresh black truffle (if in season)
  • 1 piece muslin cloth
  • 350 g paper clay

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Drink match Centennial Vineyards Blanc de Blancs NV, Southern Highlands, NSW

"What a cool-looking dish. Of course, it could form part of a main meal, presented and opened at the table, but I reckon it would make even more visual and tactile impact at the aperitif stage of the night, and the potatoes are small enough not to ruin the appetite. In that case, a sparkling pinot noir chardonnay blend will suit well; the salty potatoes will love the crisp clean lines of some top bubbly. Let’s stay local to the Highlands and go for the intense and citrus-packed Centennial Vineyards Blanc de Blancs." - Dan Coward

Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Heat a fry pan over a medium heat. Add the duck fat and potatoes and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and thyme, a good pinch of salt, and shaved black truffle if you’re using it.

On a floured surface, roll out the clay on your work bench to about 5 mm thick and large enough to encase the potatoes. Line the clay with muslin cloth (doubled over) to protect the potatoes.

Add the contents from the pan to the clay and wrap securely to a neat parcel. Place on an ovenproof tray and bake for 30 minutes.

To serve, crack open the clay parcel at the table in front of your guests to reveal the potatoes and heady aroma.


• Paper clay can be bought from ceramic shops. The name of the paper clay brand is Keane Ceramics and can be bought from Brookvale Ceramics, 11/9 Powells Road, Brookvale, NSW, phone: (02) 9905 0264.