Fresh white truffles surely are one of the culinary world’s most unique and impressive ingredients. I’ve made a lot of white truffle recipes, and I always conclude that the most simple are really the best. This recipe takes only about 15 minutes to make, and highlights the white truffle flavor magnificently.
Purchase the best quality fontina you can find. The flavor in the cheese is what makes the fonduta delicious.
I served this with a buttery, full bodied Chardonnay and I thought the wine pairing was perfect with the creamy fonduta.
7 ounces fontina cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 ounces butter
2 1/2 teaspoons milk
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon cornflour or fecule
2 ounces fresh white truffle
Grate the cheese. Combine the 1/2 cup milk and cream, add grated cheese, and let sit for one hour.
Combine the 2 1/2 teaspoons milk, 2 egg yolks and cornflour or fecule in a small bowl.
Melt the butter in a small to medium pan (teflon works best), add the cheese, cream and milk mixture, one spoonful at a time, stirring constantly, and allowing the cheese to melt between each addition. When all the cheese, cream and milk mixture has been added, put a few spoonfuls of the hot cheese, cream and milk mixture to the paste of milk, egg yolks and cornflour and stir. Then add this mixture back to the pan and incorporate. Continue to cook the mixture until it thickens into a porridge-like consistency. Season to taste with salt.
Pour the fonduta into 4 – 6 bowls and shave the white truffles over the top of each bowl as finely as possible.
I’ve recently discovered the combination of beet greens and foie gras, and I love the pairing. These beet greens are a little sweet and spicy, and make a wonderful one plate meal with Atlantic salmon, seared foie gras, garnished with candied Fresno chili peppers. It’s a good dish to make for company because a lot of the preparation can be done ahead of time.
2 tablespoons rendered foie gras fat
2 shallots, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon sea salt
Two large bunches beet greens, cleaned, stems removed and chopped into bite sized pieces (about 1 pound)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ cup water
1 teaspoon crushed chili marash (or use ½ teaspoon crushed chili pepper)
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 Atlantic salmon filets, 6 oz each
4 slices Foie Gras, 2 oz each, scored in crosshatch pattern
2 red Fresno chilis, sliced in rings, seeds removed
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 teaspoons water
fleur de sel
Put rendered foie gras fat in large frying pan over medium heat. Add the chopped shallots and minced garlic. Sprinkle with salt and cook for 8 – 10 minutes or until the shallot mixture is soft and slightly golden. Add the beet greens to pan. Add 3 tablespoons sugar and ½ cup water to beet greens and stir until sugar is dissolved and shallots are mixed with the beet greens. Cover and cook 8 – 15 minutes, or until the beet greens are tender.
While the beet greens are cooking, coat the salmon with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Cook the salmon flesh side down over high heat for about 1 minute or until the flesh is golden. Turn salmon over, skin side down, cover and turn to medium low. Cook 4 – 7 minutes. When salmon is rare inside, take off heat and let rest (it will cook further, so be sure not to cook it too much).
For the chilies, put remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and 3 teaspoons water in a small pan. Dissolve the sugar in water and cook without stirring over high heat for 5 minutes or until the sugar shows the first signs of turning golden. Add the sliced red chilies and cook for about 15 seconds. Immediately remove from pan and place the candied chilies on a slightly oiled plate (this prevents the chilies from sticking to the plate). Sprinkle fleur de sel over the chilies.
To sear the foie gras, heat a heavy frying pan to medium high. Sprinkle sea salt on both sides of each slice. Sear foie gras on each side for about 1 – 1 ½ minutes, or until crisp and brown on the outside but just set on the inside.
To serve, divide the beet greens among 4 warmed plates. Put a piece of salmon on each mound of beet green. Spoon some of the liquid from the beet greens onto each plate. Place one piece of seared foie gras on each piece of salmon and top the foie gras with 5 – 7 slices of candied chilies. Sprinkle the foie gras with a few grains of fleur de sel and serve.
1 large celery root about 2 lbs, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice
About 3 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped chives
2 large fresh duck breasts
2 ounces black truffle (preferably two, one-ounce truffles)
3 shallots, sliced thin
2 tablespoons rendered duck fat
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup cognac or brandy
2 cups rich chicken or duck stock
8 ounces foie gras cubes or scraps, at room temperature
salt and pepper
four, 2-oz slices of foie gras (optional)
First, prepare the celery root puree. Put diced celery root and potatoes in a large pot and cover with chicken stock. Cover pot and boil for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add additional stock if needed. Drain the celery root and potatoes and pass them through a ricer, or blend in a food processor. Return the puree to the pot, add butter and salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm over low heat, or reheat prior to serving.
Slice 1 ½ ounces black truffle, into approximately 36 slices. Finely chop the remaining ½ ounce.
Trim duck breasts of any sinew, leaving fatty skin totally in tact. Using your fingers, pull skin away from the breast meat from each side of duck breast, leaving about a ½ inch strip of fat attached lengthwise to meat in center of breast. Tuck a row of black truffle slices under the flaps of duck skin on each side of the two duck breasts (use 24 of the 36 truffle slices). Press skin flaps down over truffles to cover them completely. Score the top of duck skin in a crosshatch pattern, without cutting into the meat. Refrigerate for at least four hours and up to one day.
Remove duck breasts from refrigerator and let stand 30 minutes at room temperature. Preheat oven to 350°F. Carefully lift duck breast skin flaps and sprinkle salt and pepper on the truffles and on the meat side. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Place duck breasts, skin side down, in the skillet. Cook the duck breasts until the skin is deep golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain some of duck fat as it renders and set aside (it’s best to prevent the truffles from being directly exposed to the sizzling duck fat. Place the skillet with the duck breasts in oven for 5 – 8 minutes, or just until duck is cooked to desired doneness. Remove duck breasts from skillet, cover and let them rest on a platter for 10 minutes.
While the duck breasts are cooking on the stove, saute the shallots in reserved duck fat with the sugar until caramelized. Deglaze the pan with brandy or cognac and reduce the liquid to about 2 tablespoons. Add the chicken or duck stock and continue cooking until the liquid is reduced to about one cup. Pour the hot sauce into a blender and immediately add cubes of raw foie gras while the blender is still running. Add the chopped truffle and blend lightly. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Leave the foie gras sauce in the blender to keep it warm.
To serve, slice the duck breasts and place 4 – 6 slices on each plate, next to a mound of celery root puree, and any vegetable you choose to have with this dish. Pour foie gras truffle sauce around the duck breast slices and celery root puree. Garnish the celery root puree with chopped chives, and place three slices of black truffle on the duck and foie gras truffle sauce. If desired, add a 2-ounce slice of seared foie gras to each plate.
3 tablespoons foie gras fat or butter
¾ cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger root
¾ cup thinly sliced carrot
½ cup thinly sliced leak (one large leek white and light green part only)
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
3 ½ cups parsnips
4 cups chicken broth
2 pinches cayenne pepper
1/8 cup cognac or brandy
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup shredded duck confit or duck rillettes
4 toasted slices French baguette
Freshly ground black pepper
black or white truffle oil (optional)
In a heavy saucepan cook the onion, garlic, ginger root, carrot, leek, bay leaf and cumin in the butter over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture is soft and just barely golden colored. Add the sliced parsnips and the broth, bring the liquid to a boil, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender. Purée the soup in a blender and return to the pan. If the soup seems to thick, stir in enough water or additional chicken stock to thin the soup to the desired consistency. Add, salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, pour the soup into four warm bowls. Spread 2 tablespoons of duck rillettes on each of the four pieces of toasted baguette and place one piece of toast and rillettes on the top of each bowl of soup. Grind pepper to taste on top of soup. Drizzle with truffle oil if desired. Makes about 5 cups, serves 4
White truffles are best served with a mild base such as these eggs and potatoes cooked in foie gras fat.
1 1/2 cups baby yukon gold potatoes, cut in slices
3 tablespoons rendered foie gras fat
3/4 ounce fresh white truffle
Fresh basil, cut chiffonade
fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat 2 tablespoons foie gras fat over medium heat and add the sliced potatoes. Brown evenly on each side. When potatoes are almost done, heat 1 tablespoon foie gras fat in a large frying pan over low heat. Break the four eggs into the pan. Cook covered just until the whites of the eggs are cooked, but the yolk is still runny. Serve the potatoes and eggs on two warmed plates. Shave the white truffle on top of the eggs and potatoes and garnish with basil. Season with fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper to taste.
The history and facts about balsamic vinegar are a mystery to many people. Many US consumers think balsamic vinegar is a new relatively product, having only entered the marketplace about twenty years ago. In truth, balsamic vinegar has been made in Europe, and specifically Italy, for centuries. During a recent trip to Reggio Emilia in Italy, and a private tour of Acetaia Dodi, I learned about the fascinating process of the production of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.
How does standard balsamic vinegar differ from “Traditional Balsamic Vinegar”? In the United States, balsamic vinegar which is mass produced and sold in supermarkets has virtually no minimum aging. There can be one drop in the bottle which has been aged longer, allowing the label to state that the vinegar has been aged for 10 years, 25 years, or longer. This explains how an “aged” balsamic vinegar can be sold for a few dollars for an 8 oz jar. The cost of the glass jar, packaging, and distribution is more than the cost of the vinegar. Balsamic vinegar which has “50 years” or “100 years” should be closely examined. In many, if not all cases, the words on the label are terribly misleading.
In Italy, only balsamic vinegar which has been barrel aged and is tasted and approved by a consortium can be called “Traditional Balsamic Vinegar”. There are forty producers of this exquisite balsamic vinegar, and together they produce only 23,000 bottles for the entire world consumption per year. The largest producer, Acetaia Dodi, produces 9,000 of the annual 23,000 bottles.
Traditional Balsamic Vinegar has three labels, which indicate the quality of the vinegar: red, silver and gold, with the gold being the most prestigious designation. Every barrel must be tasted and rated by the consortium before bottling occurs. Once tasted and certified for a label designation, the consortium bottles the vinegar. Producers are not allowed to bottle Traditional Balsamic Vinegar. All the vinegar from the forty producers is bottled in the exact same bottles.
Each label designation indicates a minimum number of years of barrel aging, though this is not printed on the bottles. In fact, when balsamic vinegar is produced the traditional way, each bottle contains traces of vinegar that dates back 100 years or more. Acetaia Dodi, the largest producer, uses a small amount of vinegar from their original barrel from 1891 in every barrel of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar they produce.
Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is aged in barrels made of different types of wood including Oak, Chestnut, and Cherry, with some of the barrels dating back to the 1800’s. All Traditional Balsamic Vinegar must age in at least three types of wood barrels, each imparting a different flavor profile to the vinegar, and in some cases, the vinegar comes into contact with 25 different wood barrels. Every barrel must be numbered and certified for the type of wood and history of the barrel.
The barrels are surprisingly small, nothing like the large barrels used to age wine. The largest barrels can easily be carried in the arms of one person and the smallest are only about one gallon. The vinegar starts its aging process in the largest of the barrels, and is then transferred from barrel to barrel, each one smaller than the last, until the right flavor profile is created and the vinegar has been barrel aged for at least 12 years and up to 25 years. High quality vinegar such as Traditional Balsamic Vinegar thickens naturally and is never cooked in order to thicken the consistency.
Traditional Balsamic vinegar should be used sparingly. Only a few drops are needed to add a memorable touch to almost any dish. There are 500 drops in a 100ml bottle.
Use Gold Label Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Reggio Emilia sparingly with your finest aged cheeses, foie gras and truffles, and to finish a great meal. Add an astonishing and memorable touch to a variety of desserts such as custard cream, chocolate, ice cream, and fruits of the forest or enjoy as an elixir at the end of your meal, sipping it from a spoon or a small glass. Silver label is a marvelous addition to mayonnaise and sauces for meat and fish. It is perfect for cold pasta or rice salads and with foie gras. It is also ideal with fully-flavored mature cheeses such as Permigiano Reggiano. As a cooking ingredient, it is a tasty companion for filet steaks and is a precious ally when making risottos, especially those made with vegetables or scampi. The most “vinegary” of the three Traditional Balsamic Vinegars, the Crimson Label is perfect straight from the bottle on fish, carpaccio, raw vegetables and in marinades. The best chefs use it in their cooking juices when preparing game, poultry and fish.
Mishima Ranch Grilled Hanger Steak
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1/8 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons herbs de Provence sea salt
4 pounds Mishima Ranch Hanger Steaks trimmed, membrane removed and cut in half lengthwise (at membrane)
Combine all marinade ingredients. Marinate the trimmed steaks for at least two hours in the refrigerator. Brush the hot grill with olive oil and grill the steaks on each side about 3 – 5 minutes for medium rare. Do not let the flame directly touch the steaks. Remove the steaks from the grill and let sit about 5 – 10 minutes before slicing. Wagyu beef is best served rare or medium rare.
Enjoy with a slice of grilled foie gras, grilled zucchini, steak fries cooked in goose fat, fried shallots, and a bottle of Textbook Cabernet from Porthos!
This caviar recipe is very easy to prepare and makes a beautiful presentation. The lightly seasoned fresh crab and avocado pairs wonderfully with high quality osetra caviar such as Black River Caviar. The simplicity of the recipe allows the caviar to take center stage. Use as much caviar as your wallet allows!
5 ounces fresh dungeness crab
1/2 teaspoon finely minced shallot
a dash of paprika
3/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 large ripe avocado
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 ounces Black River Caviar
Carefully combine dungeness crab, shallots, paprika, half of the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Cut the avocado in half, remove pit, and spoon the flesh into a small bowl. Mash the avocado with a fork. Add the other half of the lemon juice to the smashed avocado, and add salt and pepper to taste. To serve the towers, begin with a 3″ flattened mound of smashed avocado on each of four plates. Divide the crab into 4 servings and form a layer of crab on top of the avocado on each plate. Using a spoon, top each layer of crab with a second mound of avocado and flatten. Finally, spoon 1 ounce of Black River Caviar on top of each tower. Serve immediately.
The recipe for Porcini Gnocchi with White Truffle Foam was developed by David Verzello, the Executive Chef for the Rhode School of Cuisine. We are featuring this recipe in conjunction with our upcoming 7-day culinary tour to Tuscany–one of the most unique guided tours Tuscany has to offer!
Executive chef David Verzello will be demonstrating a stunning menu during our tour “An Adventure in Fine Italian Cuisine“, including dishes such as Seared Sea Scallops with a Lemon Asparagus and White Truffle Risotto, Locally Sourced Wild Boar and Porcini Ragu served on a bed of Creamy Polenta, and Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Porcini Fritte and Foie Gras Demi Glace Reduction. David earned academic honors while studying at the renowned California Culinary Academy, is currently working with the Cooking School at Draeger’s in San Mateo, California, and is writing his first cookbook on seasonal Tuscan cuisine.
This recipe for Porcini Gnocchi with White Truffle Foam is visually stunning, delicious and will be sure to impress your guests.
Porcini Gnocchi with White Truffle Foam
Ingredient List for Gnocchi:
1 cup dry porcini mushrooms rehydrated
4 russet or starchy potato
1⁄4-1/2 cup flour-Add as needed. Less is better for a lighter gnocchi
1 whole egg- lightly beaten
1 tsp salt
Ingredients for Sauce:
Porcini tea (the hot liquid used to rehydrate the porcini)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and Pepper to taste
Ingredients for Foam:
2 cups skim milk (you must use skim milk, fat is the enemy of a good foam)
Shaved white truffle
Lecithin- just a pinch (Lecithin is available at most health food stores and with stabilize your emulsification allowing your foam to stand up to heat and time)
Dry Porcini dust (grind dried porcini in spice grinder to fine powder)
Shaved White Truffle
Optional: Fried Sage Leaves or Parsley
Place porcini in bowl with 2 cups hot water. Allow them to rehydrate. Divide rehydrated porcini in half. Finely chop one half for gnocchi dough, reserve second half for the sauce.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook potato until fork tender you are able to remove skin and run through a ricer or smooth with the back of a fork.
In a bowl or on a clean surface combine the potato and minced rehydrated porcini with egg and flour as needed to get a nice dough. Add salt and white pepper. Divide into two.
Roll out the gnocchi into a long cylindrical shape with your hands. It should be 1/2 inch diameter, Cut into individual shapes 1/2 to 3/4 inch long and roll over gnocchi shaper or shape with the back of a fork. The grooves made by the shaper or fork will help hold more of the flavorful sauce to the gnocchi. Cover gnocchi with a damp towel to minimize oxidization.
In a saucepan reduce the 1 1⁄2 cups porcini tea to 1/4 cup over medium heat. If flavor is too overwhelming cut with stock. Infuse with thyme. Add 1⁄4 cup cream and reduce by half. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and remove from heat.
Boil the gnocchi in salted water for 1-2 minutes or until they float. Remove from heat and toss in saute pan with the reserved sauce.
Heat skim milk to 105 degrees. Add fresh finely grated white truffle and steep (you may use truffle oil but just a drop as any more will effect the stability of your foam). Add lecithin. Allow lecithin to dissolve then use hand held immersion blender to froth the milk into foam.
While finishing the foam, boil the gnocchi in salted water for 1-2 minutes or until they float.
Mix the gnocchi in sauce and place a dab of foam on top. Garnish with shaved white truffle, parmesan and herbs.
This recipe for Grilled Cheese with Truffle Oil, Arugula and Summer Truffles is a wonderful way to enjoy the subtle flavor of summer truffles. The Morbier cheese, spicy arugula, and nutty summer truffles, enhanced with black truffle oil make an exceptional sandwich.
four slices good quality, dense Italian bread
1 cup arugula
1 – 2 ounces summer truffles, sliced thin
Morbier cheese, about 5 ounces, sliced
2 teaspoons black truffle oil
fleur de sel
Using a pastry brush, apply the black truffle oil to one side of each of the four pieces of bread, using about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the truffle oil. Heat a skillet to medium, and place two pieces of bread in the pan, with the truffle oil down. Cover the pieces of bread with Morbier cheese. Place the remaining two pieces of bread, truffle oil down, in the skillet and cover with sliced summer truffles. Drizzle the remaining black truffle oil over the summer truffles and sprinkle fleur de sel to taste. When the bread is golden brown and the cheese has melted, put the arugula on top of the summer truffles, and top with the slice of bread with the melted cheese. Slice the grilled cheese with truffle oil, arugula and summer truffle sandwiches in half and serve.