Hot Plate

Auguste Escoffier, the French culinary pioneer described by Kaiser Wilhelm II as the "emperor of chefs," once created a dish dubbed tournedos Rossini, a mixture of Gioacchino Rossini's favorite foods, which Escoffier ingeniously combined to honor the gifted Italian composer. A round of bread was toasted in clarified butter, then a slice of beef filet was placed atop. It was followed by a slice of warm foie gras, a slice of black Périgord truffle and a few generous spoonfuls of a simple sauce made from just three wondrous ingredients, dry Madeira wine, truffle juice and fond lie. At Osteria D'Aldo (301 Main Street, 713-224-2536), executive chef Michael Maples has created a similar dish. Listed innocuously as "veal tenderloin," it is a slice of tender veal filet, pan-seared and topped with a slice of duck foie gras. The sauce in this case is a light white-butter preparation flavored with white truffle oil. This bit of perfection can be had as an appetizer alone ($10) or as an entrée ($24) with two veal slices, a side of truffle oil mashed potatoes and Maples's signature vegetable mix.


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