Photograph by Keirnan Monaghan and Theo Vamvounakis Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero

Station to Station (1976)

Potato and “Butter-Milk” Soup

Starters from Issue 9 – Summer 2016 – The 1970s

Another album, another about-face. Bowie has described his time in L.A. crafting Station to Station as a lonely period, and his latest persona—the Thin White Duke (brought to you by cocaine)—was a reflection of that. The opening title track deposits us in a mutant universe (is that the sound of a propeller lodged in a digital sandstorm?) before devolving into a more familiar funk place, on an album that undulates between cold and distant, and warm and fuzzy. Our sublime potato and “butter-milk” soup, ethereal in appearance, was conceived of by Lauren Gerri and Flannery Klette-Kolton of bigLITTLE, and hints at Bowie’s reported diet at the time: cocaine, peppers, and milk.

serves 4

  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into small-to-medium chunks (think ½ the size of a rolling dice)
  • 2 cups half & half
  • rind from a hunk of good quality Parmesan, plus a few small chunks (5 to 8 oz total)
  • 1 stick (8 Tbsp) good quality unsalted butter (such as Kriemhild)
  • 1 oz organic chives, chopped
  • Aleppo pepper for sprinkling

  • 1

    Fill a medium pot halfway with cold water and stir in 4 to 5 tsp salt; the water should taste like the ocean. Add potatoes and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once water comes to a boil, taste a potato; it should be al dente, but not raw. Strain potatoes and set aside at room temperature.

  • 2

    Combine half & half and Parmesan in a medium pot and bring to a slow simmer, then turn heat off and cover. Steep 10 minutes. Taste to ensure a cheesy flavor; if you want a more intense flavor, continue to steep. Strain out cheese and discard. Return infused half & half to pot and set aside.

  • 3

    Melt butter in a small pot. Combine chives and melted butter in a Vitamix or high-power blender and pureé completely. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on chives with a spoon. Return to the small pot and stir in ¼ tsp of salt. Set aside until ready to serve.

  • 4

    To serve, warm infused half & half and chive butter separately until they are hot to the touch but not boiling. Place room temperature potatoes in each bowl and spoon warm half & half over. Drizzle with chive butter and sprinkle with Aleppo pepper.

    NOTE: Potatoes, infused half & half, and butter can all be done ahead of time and kept in the fridge for up to two days.