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Saturday, December 16, 2006

White Truffle Dinner 2006: Course 1


This is the second in a series of posts directed to the Fourth Annual White Truffle Dinner that Rhonda and I recently held at my home.   For more on the dinner, please see these posts:   Introduction | Course 1 | Course 2 | Course 3 | Course 4 | Course 5 | Course 6 | Course 7 | Course 8 | Conclusion

The first course for this year's White Truffle Dinner was Truffled Corn & Leek Veloute.   I can think of no better way to launch into a multi-course tasting menu than with a luxurious cream soup, which probably explains why all four of our truffle dinners have started in precisely that way.   This year's selection consists of corn, leeks and shallots sauteed in butter and then cooked with vermouth and chicken stock.   The mixture is pureed and strained, and then enriched with heavy cream and a small amount of truffle butter (or truffle oil) stirred in immediately before service.   The finished soup delivers the distinct flavors of white truffle, corn and leek, against a velvety smooth backdrop provided by the cream.

If the veloute sounds familiar to you, it should;   we served it -- sans truffle flavor -- as part of the "Four Star Tour" dinner that we presented last year.   The soup was well received by my guests there, and it has also been one of my personal favorites for as long as I can remember.   Still, I hesitated before committing to it for this year's white truffle menu.   Why?   Well, all three of our prior truffle dinners have incorporated two of my most reliable vegetable accompaniments:   Truffled Sweet Corn and Shallots and Truffled Creamed Leeks.   The former has always been paired with lobster, while the latter has variously appeared with Kobe beef, truffle-dusted sea scallop, or truffle-dusted prawn.   Because I try to minimize the repetition of flavors across the menu, the inclusion of a corn and leek soup would effectively require me to scrap both of these time-tested favorites.   Did I really want to come up with two new vegetable components for use in the later courses?   I ultimately answered that question in the affirmative, and neither the Truffled Sweet Corn and Shallots nor the Truffled Creamed Leeks made it onto this year's menu.

Finally, to give you an idea of how my white truffle menu has evolved over time, here's a summary of the Course 1 selections that we have served since the inaugural White Truffle Dinner in 2003:

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds delicious and a nice starter!

December 16, 2006 10:52 PM  
Blogger NS said...

Kat: Thanks for the comment!

December 21, 2006 7:43 PM  

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