A Truffle Menu

Posted on December 12, 2005 by Aun

Sometimes it really pays off to have foodie friends who know you like to cook. This past Sunday, we had the most amazing feast, thanks entirely to the gift of a fantastically aromatic (and of course ridiculously expensive) white Alba truffle. The only caveat imposed by the friends who gave us this precious delicacy, of course, was that that they, in addition to ourselves and two others, be present at the ensuing truffle feast.

Inspired by the white truffle, S and I put together a whole truffle menu. Two of the four savory courses would use the white truffle, while the two others would call upon its black cousin. The dessert course would also be truffled, thanks to a wonderful white truffle-honey that S buys in a local gourmet store.

Given the grandeur of the occasion, S and I went all out, laying out a crisp, starched, white table cloth, pulling out plates and crystal we rarely use, and chilling several bottles of good Champagne–which we felt would match most of the dishes better than any other kind of wine. We also dimmed the lights rather dramatically, which while great for entertaining stinks for photography. I was forced to shoot the pictures at 1600 ISO, which exlains the graininess of the shots below. Truth be told, I wasn’t really that interested in shooting this meal. Just in eating it.

Soft-boiled egg with black truffle salsa and maple-smoked bacon
This is one of the easiest and most wonderful dishes to make. And also extremely presentable, thanks mostly to the ultra-cool egg top cutter we bought recently. This cool, palm-sized metal device helps you cut the tops off your eggs perfectly and cleanly. For this dish, we soft-boiled some eggs (3 minutes in boiling water), then cut off their tops, scooping out a little of the white to allow for the addition of new ingredients. We sprinkled a touch of fleur de sel and added in a small spoonful of Tetsuya’s Black Truffle Salsa, a product that I’ve lauded several times in the past. On top of this, we placed a bit of crispy, shredded maple-smoked bacon. This was served with a Jacquesson Cuvée 729.

Foie gras ravioli with a chicken jus-truffle glaze and white truffle shavings
This was the first of our two white truffle dishes and is a variation of a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s enormous and seminal book, Le Grande Livre du Cuisine. Ducasse’s recipe calls for ravioli made with only foie gras. S decided to mix some other ingredients into it, adding roasted duck, shallots, cream, some herbs and extra flavoring. All of this was pureed in her much-loved and trusted Sumeet “Asia Kitchen Machine”. She also decided to use won-ton skins instead of making a ravioli pasta dough–a shortcut we felt would reduce our prep time without sacrificing any flavor. The glaze is a simple reduced chicken stock (homemade of course), emulsified with butter and truffle oil. Over this, we shaved the white truffles, which gave the whole dish an intoxicating aroma and lifted its flavors gorgeously. We had this with a bottle of Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé Brut.

Chicken en cocotte with truffled risotto, truffle-butter braised leeks and white truffle shavings
Years ago, on our honeymoon, S and I dined at Alain Ducasse’s restaurant in the Plaza Athenée Hotel in Paris. We ordered the white truffle menu that night as well, which was both wonderful and incredibly insane given that dinner for two ended up costing us more than one economy rountrip air ticket to Paris. One of the courses in that menu was a sumptuously tender morsel of poulet Bresse, bathed in a light cream sauce, and covered (literally) with white truffle shavings. That dish was pretty much the inspiration for what we wanted to do with this course. We cooked a chicken “en cocotte”, meaning we slow-cooked a chicken, sitting over a medley of aromatic veggies and a glass of white wine, in a casserole pot for an hour (at 125ºC).

When we were given the truffle, it was wrapped in tissue and sealed in an airtight container that was also filled with risotto rice. I used this rice for our truffled risotto but also stirred in, when it was almost finished cooking, a large pat of butter that had been blended with Tetsuya’s Black Truffle Salsa. In addition, I had bought a can of TartfufLanghe’s Fonduta con Tartufo (cheese fondue with white truffles) and added a spoonful of it to help both thicken and flavor the risotto. The leeks were steamed and then braised in the same butter-black truffle salsa mix that I had used for the risotto.

When ready to serve, we plated a bit of chicken, some risotto and the leeks. Over the chicken we drizzled a tiny bit of a sauce made by combining the chicken jus from the previous course and some of the truffle cheese fondue. Over all this, of course, we shaved the rest of the white truffle. We served a Krug Rosé with this dish.



Tagliatelle with black truffle, braised lamb ragout and porcini mushrooms

This is another simple dish. We made a lamb ragout using meat taken off a slow-cooked (seven hours) leg of lamb. This was blended with a chopped black truffle (another gift–this truffle has been stored in VSOP) and chopped sautéed porcini. We used the porcini water to soften the ragout and continued to add the water and reduce, until the ragout had a wonderful, earthy flavor. This was tossed with some very al denté tagliatelle. With this, we had our only non-Champagne wine of the night, a wonderfully smooth Torbreck’s The Steading 2002.

White truffle-honey ice cream with apple tart
S’s white-truffle honey ice cream has, by now, become of of her signature desserts. Friends who have had it are often shocked and then delighted by the contrast of such strong flavors. The secret ingredient in this sinfully sexy ice cream is TartufLanghe’s Acacia Honey with White Truffles. To balance the ice cream, S made a French Apple Tart, following a recipe from Susan Purdy’s The Perfect Pie.

The meal, as a whole, was pretty amazing. It’s not every day that one gets to eat an entirely truffle-based dinner, let along handle a white truffle in person. As said, It was a meal that was inspired through the generosity of two great friends. And at the end of the night, when everyone had left and we’d cleaned ourselves up, S and I, a tad tipsy, extremely tired, went to bed extremely grateful.

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. sue December 12, 2005 at 7:02 pm

    Holy truffle batman. That looks amazing.

  2. brenda December 12, 2005 at 7:37 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous – my jaw dropped the whole way.

  3. tami December 12, 2005 at 9:44 pm

    Simply incredible – what an amazing post. Thank you for sharing with us :)

  4. Melissa CookingDiva December 12, 2005 at 11:06 pm

    I loved the complete menu, BUT your dessert was amazingly beautiful! Hugs from Panama :)

  5. J December 12, 2005 at 11:26 pm

    Incredible! (with a captal I)…a real labour of love (not least of which, for truffles!)…b.(rather enviously) asks if the tall blonde one got any stray shavings off the table

  6. Monkey Gland December 13, 2005 at 3:10 am

    You’re a braver man than me Chubby, I don’t know if I would have trusted myself with it. Guests would have found me on the floor of the kitchen in a blissed out state and an empty plate of scrambled eggs with the whole truffle strangely absent…

  7. Olivia December 13, 2005 at 4:21 am

    Just discovered your blog and am thoroughly impressed! This looks fantastic. Unusual choice with the champagne pairings, but seems like it made for a very happy night. :) I’m also totally jealous though, as this has so far been a year without truffles for us.

  8. Chubby Hubby December 13, 2005 at 8:23 am

    Gwenda: Thanks doubly!

    Sue: Thanks Robin.

    Brenda: Also many thanks.

    Tami: Thanks. I couldn’t help but want to write about this meal. It was such a once in a lifetime experience… getting to use a whole fresh white truffle.

    Melissa: Well, the dessert was all S. It was yummy though. I especially loved the ice cream and the pastry she used for the tart.

    J: Urp… yah, L made sure to let the tall blonde one lick some of the truffle leftovers off of her fingers. Of course, S scolded her for indulging the pooch.

    Monkey Gland: Truth be told, I was tempted to hide a quarter of the truffle and treat myself to scrambled eggs the next morning, but since I hadn’t paid for it, that would have been so, so wrong. At least, that’s what S told me when I floated the idea ;-)

    Olivia: Thanks. I thought the Champagnes went very well with the dishes. Red wines would have overpowered the truffles. White burgandies would have worked equally well, but there’s something festive about Champagne. I’m also a big sucker for the idea (propogated by a lot of the big Champagne houses) that Champagne isn’t just an apertif or for celebration, that it is a proper wine that can be matched with various courses over a meal.

  9. Elsie December 13, 2005 at 8:55 am

    Hi Chubby Hubby,
    You can’t imagine how envious I am of you. Your passion combined with your superb cooking skills is something which I totally admire! Where did you get all these knowledge about food?!

    May I know where I can get the Testuya’s black truffle salsa from? Is it available in Singapore?

  10. Chubby Hubby December 13, 2005 at 10:12 am

    Elsie: Hiya, thanks! Yup, you can get the black truffle salsa at Culina.

  11. Frederico December 13, 2005 at 11:49 am

    Question:
    how much was that white truffle valued at approximately?

  12. Chubby Hubby December 13, 2005 at 3:04 pm

    Frederico: I wouldn’t even dare ask my friends how much they paid. And I forgot to weight the truffle they brought. It was enough, though, for generous shavings over 12 small dishes (6 people x 2 courses). For info though, an article in National Geographic this year claimed that prices for white truffles are areound U.S. $1,200 to $2,300 a pound ($2,600 to $5,000 a kilogram).

  13. Frederico December 13, 2005 at 4:47 pm

    … and i thought wagyu beef was bad.

  14. Liz December 14, 2005 at 4:15 am

    Jealous. Hopelessly jealous. And feeling terrible pangs of hunger, which is ludicrous, because I’ve just eaten. Gob-smacking post – thanks!

  15. megwoo December 14, 2005 at 6:58 am

    This looks absolutely fantastic. What a wonderful menu!

  16. Zara's Mama December 14, 2005 at 12:07 pm

    How crude was my roast chicken post (http://zara-low.blogspot.com/2005/12/roasting-chic-and-blabbering.html) compared to this..

    This is 6star restaurant, mine was food court food.

    The photos and the food that you’d cooked all seem so mouth watering.. *drool*

  17. Vivilicious December 15, 2005 at 9:33 am

    Um hello? Are you serious? I am drooling all over my keyboard, you have some generous friends and you definitely treated that truffle right! When can I come over for dinner? ;-)

  18. Anonymous December 18, 2005 at 1:59 pm

    Goodness, i’m in awe.

    With a friend like you i’d certainly generously supply the white truffle to be part of an evening that ends with these lovely dishes.

  19. 2-minute Noodle Cook December 19, 2005 at 7:22 am

    What a wonderful dinner! Will black truffle work in place of white truffle? I’ve seen some jars of black truffle (preserved?), slightly smaller than pingpong balls around AUD$26.00. These are imported and not local from Manjimup – I think top restaurants like Jacksons got all of this year’s harvest from Perth. The truffled ice-cream and apple tart sound delicious, couldn’t help thinking of adding white truffle oil to honey and serving over ice-cream as a quick substitute. How is that ice-cream made?

  20. Chubby Hubby December 19, 2005 at 10:02 am

    squeezeweasel, meg, and zara’s mama: Most welcome and thanks for visiting.

    viv: well, you bring the truffle and you’re welcome any time ;-)

    anon: Thanks!

    2-minute: white and black truffles are quite different. You never, for example, cook white truffles. Just shave them over finished dishes. Black truffles are best used in the cooking process, to enhance flavors. I find that unless you have the very best black truffles, shaving it doesn’t really add much to the dish. White are also much, much more aromatic.

  21. S December 19, 2005 at 2:57 pm

    Hi 2 minute cook,

    You could try topping ice-cream with honey and truffle oil, but it may end up being too sweet and the truffle oil may taste a little overpowering or artificial. I made the ice-cream by first making an unsweetened creme anglais base. The infused honey and some vanilla bean paste is then stirred in as it cools. This is chilled overnight before it is churned in the ice-cream machine.

  22. 2-minute Noodle Cook December 19, 2005 at 9:04 pm

    Thanks CH and S! What a shame with the truffle, sigh…. But I’ll give the creme anglaise a go and try S’s tip on Damien Pignolet’s recipe published in Gourmet Traveller. Did you add cream, like, the “French” book recipe uses 2/3 volume of thickened cream or creme fraiche to the creme anglaise?

  23. S December 20, 2005 at 9:15 am

    Hi 2-minute,
    I love creme fraiche in ice cream, but for this particular one, I really wanted the truffled honey to take centrestage, so I kept the creme anglaise pretty clean flavor-wise. I used only whipping cream (no milk, but this doesn’t necessarily work with all flavors) because the 35-36% fat content is ideal. Too much fat and your ice-cream starts developing the mouthfeel of butter. I also have to confess that I love my ice-cream really rich, I like being able to twirl it around my tongue. So this one called for 500ml whipping cream and 6 egg yolks to give me the texture and flavor I enjoy most. It worked well with the apple tart which I made using Granny Smiths.

  24. eatdrinknbmerry December 22, 2005 at 5:19 pm

    This was a great post. I just stumbled upon your site, good stuff. Hopefully one day i’ll be able to afford these delectable gifts from Earth.

  25. 2-minute Noodle Cook December 22, 2005 at 8:58 pm

    No more drooling, I finally took the plunge with S’s ice-cream idea. Run out of honey, so ended up making a caramel out of raw suger. The creme anglaise went stringy after adding the yolks, but seems Ok after rescuing with a sieve :). Added macadamia oil to the milk mixture instead of cream. Tastes great if I may say so myself! Now to find a way of making a deconstructed tarte tatin to show off….

  26. Francesco Marconi April 25, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    For any truffle products there is this supplier in Singapore. He is specialized in truffles and he sells from fresh to all the sauces…honey, salt and so on…www.trifola.asia

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