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Fonduta with White Truffle

Fontina cheese, which has been made from cow’s milk in Italy’s small northern region of Valle d’Aosta for centuries, is fragrant with the grasses and mushrooms found where the cows graze. In the nearby region of Piedmont, fontina is mixed with egg yolks and milk to make the creamy, ultrarich fonduta, similar to a Swiss fondue. Thinly shaved white truffles are strewn on top and the mixture is eaten warm with toasted bread. The fonduta can be prepared without the white truffle, but it adds a marvelous flavor. Fonduta can also be used as a sauce for poached eggs or steamed asparagus. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. Valle d’Aosta fontina cheese, rind trimmed and cheese thinly sliced  
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 3 egg yolks 
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter 
  • 8 thin whole-wheat Italian bread slices, toasted  
  • 1 white truffle 

Directions:

In a shallow bowl, combine the cheese and milk, submerging the cheese fully in the milk. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours, or refrigerate for up to overnight.

Drain off 1/2 cup of the milk and place it in a bowl with the egg yolks. Whisk until blended.

Put the cheese, the remaining milk and the butter in a heatproof bowl that will fit snugly in the rim of a saucepan. Pour water to a depth of about 2 inches into the pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Adjust the heat so the water simmers gently, and place the bowl holding the cheese over (but not touching) the simmering water. (Alternatively, use a double boiler.) Heat, stirring often, until the cheese is melted and smooth, about 3 minutes. Slowly add the egg yolk mixture while whisking constantly. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes more.

Arrange 2 slices of toast on each plate. Pour the fonduta evenly over the toast. Using a truffle shaver or a vegetable peeler, thinly shave the truffle over the fonduta. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian by Michele Scicolone (Oxmoor House, 2007).