White Truffle Has Chefs Salivating

LAS VEGAS (MainStreet) -- Would you pay thousands of dollars for a pound of mushrooms? Maybe not, but white truffles, those very 'shrooms that cost $2,000 a pound or more, have chefs across the country salivating.

TravelsinTaste spoke to many chefs about their use of the diamond of the culinary world, and Shaun Hergatt of SHO Shaun Hergatt in New York hit the nail right on the head when he told us: "White truffle is like gold out of the ground. They are a true pleasure to eat, from aroma to taste. They're such a unique experience. We all lust for that two months when they blossom."

Read on for some of the country's best uses of the luxury ingredient.

In Las Vegas Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace acquired a 1.16-pound white truffle. Picked by a 15-year-old boy, Luigi, after it was found by his hound dog Coco next to a hazel tree In Piedmont, Italy, the truffle cost between $5,000 and $7,000. The restaurant is expecting to make 100 white truffle risotto dishes with it.

Celebrity hot spot Lavo in the Palazzo is serving a homemade fettuccine with white truffle in a classic butter and parmigiano sauce with shaved white truffle on top. Guests can also add the delicacy to any dish for $69. Lavo's executive chef, Massimiliano Campanari, is to personally shave the white truffles tableside.
Restaurant Guy Savoy has acquired a 1.16-pound white truffle.

Created by world-renowned chef to the stars Paolo "Zeffirino" Belloni, Zeffirino Ristorante inside Las Vegas' The Venetian is serving taglierini alla crema di burro con tartufo bianco, a homemade taglierini "pasta" with butter, parmigiano and white truffle, and medaglione di manzo al porto con mele al rosmarino, a pan-seared beef tenderloin medallion with port sauce, rosemary apples and white truffle.

In New York, Iron Chef contestant Marc Forgione serves "Chicken Under a Brick" for two with white truffles at his eponymous restaurant. "We sell them by the gram, and you can put them on anything. We serve the chicken bubbling and hot right out of the oven, so when the sliced truffles hit this hot, beautiful chicken, the flavor is just infused immediately. Once a shaved truffle hits something that's hot, the flavor and the aroma really explodes," Forgione says. "You shave five grams of white truffle onto this beautiful chicken, it's really something spectacular. The whole restaurant smells like truffles."

At David Burke Townhouse, white truffle makes its way onto the menu in savory and sweet creations. Executive Chef Carmine DiGiovanni adds it to risotto Milanese, mac and cheese and other pasta items and soft scrambled eggs, and the pastry kitchen turns out a bourbon-poached pear with white truffle mascarpone.

At Colicchio & Sons, Chef James Tracey is serving a ravioli and risotto that can be topped with shaved white truffles, a ricotta pizza topped with shaved truffles and truffle-flecked soft-scrambled eggs. They are also offering whole truffles for the table, which can be shaved onto whichever dishes guests would like.

Chef Jesse Schenker at Recette is serving foie gras ravioli, which is foie gras snow with brown butter jelly, hazelnuts and fresh white truffle. "Foie, brown butter, hazelnuts, topped with white truffle -- what could be better?" he asks. "To prepare, I sous vide a whole load of foie for 10 hours till it turns to liquid -- essentially melted foie. I season it and put it into demi-sphere molds and put into freezer. I then make traditional ravioli pasta and enclose the sphere with the frozen foie mold so as soon as I boil the ravioli, the foie goes back to a liquid state. You pop the one-bite ravioli and are overcome by a liquid explosion of foie! We serve the ravioli with pink salt-cured foie torch on and grate frozen foie 'foie snow' which melts when it hits the ravioli. It all sits on a bed of crushed toasted hazelnuts and is topped with freshly shaved white truffles tableside."

Chef Stephen Wambach at Barclay Prime in Philadelphia has added a meaning to the city's signature dish with his $100 cheesesteak. The dish features Kobe ribeye topped with Fontina Val d'Aosta, housemade foie gras terrine and a generous portion of shaved white truffles, all served on a hearty grilled ciabatta and accompanied by a complimentary half bottle of Perrier-Jouet, Grand Brut.

Meanwhile, in Rancho Palos Verdes, Chef Michael Fiorelli is serving poached kushi oysters with torn ciabatta croutons, shaved white truffles and a sunchoke puree for his New Year's Eve menu at mar'sel at Terranea. "One of my favorite things about winter is the opportunity to pair oysters and truffles. There's just something so uniquely ethereal about the brininess of a West Coast oyster set against the earthiness of an Alba truffle," Fiorelli says.

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