This is an elegant meal for two, but not too elegant to make at home. A big sea bass or bream, stuffed with mushroom-truffle pesto, full of parsley and basil and pine nuts, and topped with crisp-broiled mushrooms. Who could resist that for dinner?
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Truffles are, weight for weight, one of the most expensive foods available. And for good reason: It's not just the tuber's rarity, taste, or smell...the speciality of this earthy treasure also has a lot to do with the chase. On a trip to Marche, Italy, we were lucky enough to meet a team of locals and hunt down two of our own (and eat many, many more).
So-called for their resemblance to the fungus, chocolate truffles have other characteristics in common with their mushroom namesake: they're rare, indulgent, yes, often expensive. But often the cost correlates with quality ingredients, whether that means Valhrona cocoa or Dom Pérignon cream. Of course, if you agree that money can't buy love, there are a few under-$10 options on our list as well.
By baking these brownies in muffin cups, you end up with the perfect ratio of chewy crust to creamy truffle-like center.