Cooking with Truffles
Edible truffles are highly sought after and are one of the most expensive foods in the world by weight. They are literally and figuratively worth their weight in gold; putting the pressure on in the kitchen to make it live up to its expectations!
For any knowledgeable chef, cooking with truffles is another skill entirely. This skill is important to master in order to do the truffle justice. The two main types of truffles (black and white) should both be eaten at their peak of ripeness to fully appreciate their flavour. The main difference in preparation is that white truffles should never be cooked whereas black truffles can be eaten either raw or slightly cooked.
It is not entirely by chance that you find a truffle; truffles grow among the roots of certain trees. If you are interested in how to truffle hunt on your trip to Italy join us on one of our truffle hunting tours to experience first-hand from our local guides, the traditions and secrets involved.
Before joining us on our truffle hunting tour, learn how to cook with truffles as well as some easy truffle recipes that will be sure to impress at a dinner party.
How to eat Truffles
Truffles are not like any other type of mushroom, they are, in the words of Jean Antheleme Brillat-Savrain ‘the very diamond of gastronomy’. They have the extraordinary ability to transform a simple recipe such as scrambled eggs into a culinary masterpiece.
Truffles are often described as ‘gourmet mushrooms’, however there are lots of different ways to define their flavour and aroma. They are commonly characterised by the strong taste of mushrooms and garlic with a distinctly earthy and pungent flavour.
Truffles are very versatile with the ability to be used in multiple dishes. So how do you cook with them? Truffles are best served as thin, raw shavings on top of your cooked dish or salad; you simply need a truffle shaver to be on your way to gastronomic heaven. The key is to maximise the flavour using the least amount of the ingredient as possible. Slice the truffle into paper-thin strips and serve the recommended quantity of 8-10 grams per person.
Bland-tasting foods such as pasta, rice and potatoes are the perfect complement for truffles as they bring out the delicious flavour of the truffles. A top tip is to stay clear of using other strong flavours within the recipe as the truffle flavour will be lost! Truffle recipes often involve butter, cheese and cream. This is not just a coincidence but because fat is a truffle’s best friend. Fatty foods bring out the full flavour of the truffles so stick to this rule and you’ll never be disappointed!
The best flavour undoubtedly comes from fresh truffles, however as well as being the most expensive they should also only be used within three days of purchase otherwise their taste and aroma will be lost. Preserved truffles are available, however it is advised to eat them within a week once opened and exposed to the air.
For many, buying and accessing a fresh or preserved truffle is simply out of their price range. Fortunately, there are many products on the market that make use of the flavour of truffles without the hefty price tag attached. These come in forms such as truffle oil, purees, pastes and butter. These products are substantially cheaper, making it easier and more accessible to create truffle recipes at home.
Easy Truffle Recipes
Truffles are wonderfully versatile, lending themselves well to meals at any time of day. Try our quick and easy recipes to impress family and friends!
Breakfast – Truffle scrambled eggs
• Heat some butter in a small, non-stick frying pan
• Beat 3 free range eggs and season with salt and pepper
• Pour mixture into the frying pan and using a spatula, push the egg on the outer edges into the middle until all of the egg is set
• Serve the egg on a plate and scatter truffle shavings over the top
(N.B. Truffle salt and truffle oil can be used as a replacement for fresh truffles)
Lunch – Potato, celeriac and truffle oil soup
• Fry one chopped white onion in a medium sized pot until translucent
• Add in the pot 500g of peeled and diced potatoes, 500g of celeriac peeled and diced and 1 litre of vegetable stock and season with thyme and pepper.
• Bring to the boil and simmer for about 40 minutes.
• Now add 100ml of cream and bring back to the boil.
• Purée the mixture in a food processor.
• Season carefully adding 3-4 tablespoons of truffle oil.
(N.B. if you are lucky you can serve this with also a few shavings of fresh black or white truffles.)
Dinner – Truffle Pasta
• Cook fresh pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water for 1 – 2 minutes or until al dente.
• Meanwhile make the sauce by gently heating up 300ml of cream in a large frying pan on low heat.
• Separate the yolk of one large egg and whisk it into the frying pan.
• Grate 60g of parmesan and stir it into the frying pan.
• Season well with salt and pepper
• Using tongs loosely drop the drained pasta into the sauce and toss well.
• Serve with shavings of truffle and parmesan and a few drops of truffle oil.
(N.B. Truffle salt and Truffle oil and be used as a replacement for fresh truffles)
Regardless of whether you have shavings of fresh truffle over risotto, or pasta infused with truffle oil, you can be sure to expect a unique and unforgettable flavour that will have the entire table yearning for more.