On Thursday, Kelly called to say that she had a pound of Italian black summer truffles for me, at a very good price. I said: Oh yes. At 6:30am yesterday, I was in a Carl's Jr. parking lot near the La Cienega exit of the 10 freeway. I pulled up next to a white pickup. Both engines were running. I opened my window; he handed me a small brown box. To anyone else, I'm sure it looked like a drug deal. I drove home with my goods, put them in the refrigerator. And started planning the party.
An aside here: I am so lucky to be married to my husband. I imagine that most men, should their wives call and breathlessly tell them they've just spent a bundle on truffles, would say one of two things. One: "Are you nuts?" Or two: "That's nice, dear." Whereas Michael said: "That's fantastic! Who's on the list?" Because, of course, at that point the party was implied, a given. That's my husband - always happy to be throwing the party. For which, among other things, I love him dearly.
But what to do with said truffles? For the, um, let's see, close to 30 people coming to share the bounty? (Note: Many people will cancel existing plans in order to attend a truffle party.)
I started by soliciting some professional advice, which I compiled into an article for my LA Cooking Examiner column (read it here). Truffles seem to have some common and willing companions: eggs, potatoes, pasta, rice. It's best to pair truffles with bland backgrounds, so the earthy-muddy flavor of the truffles can shine. I love the recipe for tagliatelle with black truffle sauce I got from Alex Palermo, the owner of Cube Cafe & Marketplace on La Brea - just pounded truffles, oil and garlic, nothing else. The simpler, the better.
Professional tips in hand, I set out to make a menu for tomorrow's Trufflepalooza. So far it looks like this:
- Tartines with truffle butter and thinly sliced radishes (see the recipe here)
- Crostini with fresh ricotta, honey, thyme and shaved truffles
- Truffled egg salad
- Roasted potato "chips" with fontina and shaved truffles
- Truffled fresh corn pudding
- Spaghetti with butter, cream, Parmigiano-Reggiano and grated truffles
- Filet mignon bites with truffle butter
- Emery's salad with truffle vinaigrette, pancetta and grated truffles
- Truffle honey ice cream with fresh figs
I can't wait for the party - and yes, I'll post lots of photos.