Cooking with Truffles

Have you ever tried cooking with diamonds? Although some kind of diamond dust used as a bizarre seasoning for the most exquisite dishes on the earth is likely to be the very first thing that comes to mind, the ingredient we mean here is more real. However, depending on its size, it may sometimes cost as much as this precious stone. Nevertheless, it is still extremely favored and valued among professional chefs and picky gourmets for its amazing culinary properties including a beautiful flavor profile. So it is high time to reveal what this mysterious widget actually is.

It is a truffle and it was deservedly nicknamed a “diamond of the kitchen” by the well known French gastronome Jean Brillat-Savarin (though his main profession was a lawyer).  

What Are Truffles: a Quick Guide

Until the early 18th century, when they were identified as a particular mushroom species, truffles were considered something literally out of our world, and various legends would cloak their nature and origins. Ancient people regarded them as the food of gods or even demons. But in terms of gastronomy, the truffle has always been a mark of sumptuousness and sublimity of the cuisine.

 

To put it simply, truffles are underground edible fungi growing among the root systems mostly of the oak, birch, poplar, hazelnut and some other trees. Nowadays the exact number of truffle species is still unknown, though more than ten of them can be found in Europe, China and the Himalayas, North Africa as well as in the western part of the United States.

What Are Truffles Used for Truffle Food

The most general classification of truffles divides them into four main types according to their color and the season when they can be harvested. These are the pairs of black or white truffles, and winter or summer truffles respectively. Consequently, we now know several species of winter and summer blacks or whites. Additional terms are used to specify the origin of a particular truffle, for example, the French Perigord or Italian Piedmont truffles.

Special regulations have been set to control the truffle collecting and trading processed worldwide, and to assure end consumers that they purchase a real and safe product. So today any fresh or marinated truffles you find can be used in cooking, regardless of their color and harvesting time.

The same can be said about most recipes with truffles of different types. From gastronomic point of view, winter and summer blacks and whites are actually interchangeable. Unlike other mushrooms, either fresh or jarred truffles are almost never served on their own. On the other hand, they play perfectly well as fragrant seasonings and accompaniments to the wide array of dishes.

Universal Tips on Cooking with Truffles

  • In case you are going to cook with flavorful fresh truffles, the most important is to preserve their aroma. Firstly, clean them thoroughly of dirt and wash with cool water. Then dry them with a paper towel.

  • Keep the clean skin of a peeled truffle to use it chopped or grained as a nice spice for sauces, pâtés or even butter.

  • When it comes to adding truffles to your dish, either slice them thinly or shave them with a special shaver. You can do the same with marinated truffles. But watch the amount! Truffle is not cheese, so the rule “the more the better” does not work with it. The dish should not be overloaded with its strong pungent flavors.

  • Add them at the very end of your preparations, so that they did not lose the odors.

  • As a flavoring truffles shine wonderfully with either bland or fatty and meaty foods.

  • Pair them with other mushrooms, fresh vegetables and greens.

  • If you appear to have truffles on your menu, you can hardly escape cooking with truffle oil. Do not hesitate to drizzle a bit of it over everything you cook with these fungi. 

White Truffle Use

  • The first and foremost thing to remember about the whites is that they should always be served fresh and not cooked. Cooking will make their aromas fade away very quickly.

  • Also, white truffles should not be combined with very acidic food.

  • Shredded, they are highly recommended as a splendid topping for a pizza.

  • Add them shaved or sliced into your risotto to make it even much more beautiful.

  • White truffles will also turn your favorite pasta and lasagna just heavenly.

  • Winter whites are a good company for subtly flavored seafood and vegetable salads.

Buy white truffles here

White truffles

Black Truffle Use

  • Although the blacks are considered less flavorful, they keep their aromas and taste for longer time. In order to reveal them, black truffles should be added to a dish while you are cooking it.

  • As well as the whites, they are magnificent flavorings for risottos and different types of pasta.

  • Black truffles are ideal accompaniments for omelets and poached eggs.

  • Hot home tomato soup flavored with the blacks will be too delicious to seem real.

  • The black truffle is also a must-have seasoning for foie gras and duck or chicken meats.  

Buy black truffles here

Black Truffles