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Truffled Swiss and Wild Mushroom Fondue

Demonstrated by Chef Thomas Chulick C. E. C.,
at the Gary Lincoff Mid-Atlantic Mushroom Foray,
North Park in Allegheny County near Pittsburgh, Pa. September 12, 2009.

Makes about 3 1/2 cups;
4 to 6 main-course or 8 to 10 appetizer servings.

Serve this tasty fondue with crusty bread cubes, tiny roasted new potatoes and artichoke hearts, cubes of firm polenta, Belgian endive leaves, or assorted raw vegetables.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces fresh wild mushrooms, such as shiitake, porcini, morels, or chanterelles, or a combination of wild and cultivated mushrooms, finely chopped (see Note)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
freshly ground black pepper
1 pound Swiss cheese, shredded
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon black or white truffle oil
or a high quality olive oil

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they give off their liquid and begin to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with the thyme, salt, and pepper.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the shredded Swiss and grated Parmesan cheese with the cornstarch to coat.

In a large saucepan, warm the wine and lemon juice over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Reduce the heat to low and gradually stir in the cheese mixture, letting each addition melt before adding more. Stir in the mushrooms and cook for 1 minute longer. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to a fondue pot and drizzle the truffle or olive oil over the top. Regulate the heat under the pot, if possible, so that the cheese fondue remains warm, not hot.

Note: If wild mushrooms are unavailable or prohibitively expensive, substitute 4 ounces of chopped fresh cremini or white mushrooms along with 2 ounces of assorted dried wild mushrooms that have been rehydrated in warm water for about 20 minutes, drained well, and chopped.