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Friday, October 30, 2009

Fresh Truffles to Shine in Special Menus Throughout the Next Two Weeks

Posted By on Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 2:47 PM

click to enlarge Fit for a pig: White truffles shaved over Poggio's house-made tajarin pasta. - POGGIO
  • Poggio
  • Fit for a pig: White truffles shaved over Poggio's house-made tajarin pasta.
Ah, truffles. Seasonal white truffles are now arriving from Alba in the Piemonte region of Italy -- same with black truffles from the Périgord region of France (they're also found in Spain, Italy, and Slovenia) -- and local chefs are celebrating the annual harvest of the gnarly lumps with special dinners and dishes.

Earthy, fragrant truffles are among the most expensive and rewarding of rare ingredients. The hard-to-find fungal tubers often grow at the base of trees, to be snuffed out by truffle-hunting pigs and dogs. Pungent in a way that's frankly sexy, they enhance everything from scrambled eggs to more complicated preparations.

• At Americano in the Hotel Vitale (8 Mission at the Embarcadero), executive chef Paul Arenstam references the annual Fiera del Tartufo Bianco d'Alba with his own White Truffle Week, Nov. 2-6. Truffles will be featured all day long, on all of Americano's menus (even room service), simple preparations that allow the aromatic truffles to shine. They include breakfast eggs with shaved truffles (served all day); risotto al tartufo bianco; pizza bianco con tartufo; and buttered fettuccine with truffles. All dishes are $45, and include five grams of white truffle shaved at table.

Delfina (3621 18th St. at Guerrero) is doing two special white truffle dinners next Tuesday, Nov. 3, and Wednesday, Nov. 4, featuring both truffled dishes and dishes that can be enriched with white truffles grated tableside. Menus haven't been firmed up yet, but dishes in past years have included kuri squash sformato with fonduta and chestnuts; risotto al Barolo with radicchio and bone marrow; hand-cut tajarin pasta with cream, butter, and parmigiano; and veal arista with black trumpet mushrooms and potato-cardoon gratinata. Delfina will also include truffle dishes on its menus Nov. 17-19, celebrating the restaurant's 11th anniversary. Special wines from the Piemonte will also be featured.

Poggio (777 Bridgeway at Park, Sausalito), executive chef Peter McNee is doing menus Nov. 10-14 inspired by his own truffle-hunting in the Piemonte. Fresh white truffles will be grated tableside for $35 a dish, over such classical preparations as raviolo con uovo (a large specimen filled with spinach, ricotta, and soft-cooked egg yolk), tajarin della casa con burro e salvia (house-made tagliatelle with butter and sage), and uova al tegamino (a fancy way of saying fried eggs -- organic, of course). Cooked dishes will feature black truffles for what McNee calls their ability to stand up to intense flavors. They'll be stuffed under the skin of spit-roasted birds, and flavor pheasant meatloaf with chestnuts. Featured wines from Piemonte, available by the bottle or glass, will include full-bodied Barolos and Barbarescos.

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Meredith Brody

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