Worth Their Weight in Gold

Truffles add a dose of earthy flavor to any dish, from the most refined to pizza and french fries.

Truffles Meal Feature

One of the most coveted and expensive foods known to master chefs and connoisseurs alike is wild and rare Piedmont white truffles. Valued at approximately $4,000 per pound, the search for the aromatic Piedmont white truffle and its charming counterpart, the Périgord black truffle, is a lucrative business. The combination of rich soil, temperate climate, a short shelf life, and seasonal, limited availability drives the extreme market prices. But for truffle addicts, the rich savory flavor created by the underground wonders is worth the high price tag.

Truffles and their down-market cousin, truffle oils, inject a burst of flavor and aroma into any dish, from french fries or ice cream to high-brow risottos. Because of their intense flavors, they are often paired with blander foods to showcase the savory qualities.

Despite their inherent elegance and complexity, preparation is fairly easy. Simply grating a raw truffle can elevate a mundane dish of mashed potatoes into a gourmet feast. “Truffled scrambled eggs are a classic for good reason,” says Rodney Dunn in The Truffle Cookbook. “The fat in the eggs and any dairy used will amplify the truffle’s flavor.” He goes on to explain that the use of acid and heat, in particular the lactic acid of cream and butter, unlock the truffle’s flavor.

Executive Chef Dena Marino of MC Kitchen in Miami suggests when buying truffles, check provenance, smell, and texture. “You want to look for the firmest that you can find…and shave them as thin as you can get them.” She prefers white truffles with pastas with lighter sauces and risottos, and black truffles for steak and cream sauces. “A quality truffle should be firm and not have any sponginess to it. The aroma should be earthy or musky. If there is any ammonia smell, move on to the next truffle. Also…be careful out there. You would be surprised how many fake truffles are out there stating they are from Italy, but are really from China.”

Artichoke Heart Bruschetta

Chef Dena Marino’s Recipe


2 cups heavy cream
1½ cups grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
4 medium artichokes
4 fresh eggs
3 lemons
1 cup olive oil
8 crushed cloves of garlic

3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups white wine
1 tbsp crushed red chili flakes
3 sprigs thyme
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper corns
1 Périgord black truffle
1 tsp white truffle oil
1 loaf rosemary Ciabatta bread


Creamy Parmigiano Fonduta
(yields about 3½ cups)
In large saucepan, stir heavy cream and cook over low heat. Slowly stir in Parmesan cheese for 6 to 8 minutes, season with Kosher salt and ground black pepper. Mixture will look thick and clumpy for a few seconds, then form a silky smooth consistency. Set the saucepan aside in a warm place.

Braised Artichoke Bottoms
Trim tops and leaves. Cut out chokes and rub freshly cut areas with lemon to prevent browning. Warm olive oil over medium-low heat in a deep skillet. Add artichokes, salt, pepper, thyme, juice of 1 lemon, white wine, chili flakes, garlic, and broth. Cover artichokes completely. Heat to medium-high for a gentle boil then decrease to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Check every 5 minutes to ensure enough liquid is in the pan. Add broth as necessary. Artichokes are done when a knife can easily slide through the heart. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper if necessary and cool in broth.

Poached Egg
Use fresh eggs. Add a dash of vinegar to a pan of simmering water. Crack eggs individually into a ramekin. Create gentle whirlpool in the water to help egg wrap around the yolk. Slowly tip egg into water, white first. Cook for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Cut off wispy edges.

Slice a rosemary Ciabatta bread 1 inch thick, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toast until golden brown.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place toast and artichoke heart in oven. Once hot, place artichoke on bread and add poached egg on top. Evenly pour 4 ounces of Fonduta on top of eggs and artichokes. Shave fresh Périgord black truffle and drizzle with truffle oil.

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