Cooking with truffle

Truffles are powerful, yet delicate too. The aroma can be lost, or even the taste destroyed, here are some hints on cooking with them. Generally a plain dish best showcases their unique flavour and aroma. They are a superb flavour enhancer, and with the correct techniques & ingredients, they are capable of 1+1=5 synergy.

Some key factors in releasing these qualities are temperature, oil/butter, and salt.

Too high a temperature will drive off a large amount of the aroma, (though not necessarily the flavour) whereas gentle heat will help release it into the food, where it is captured by any fatty substance like cream, butter, olive oil, meat fats, egg yolk.

Salt helps realise the flavour of truffle, even if you prefer to avoid salt in cooking. People vary in their ability to taste different things. If you find yourself wondering if you've used enough truffle, try a little more salt on a portion of the food, and if it increases the truffle presence significantly, then season the rest of the dish accordingly. Therefore, when using butter in any recipe, please ensure it is salted butter.

Serving Ideas

  • A good demonstration of the above is also a traditional way to conclude a Truffle sale in France. Slices of truffle, on fresh sourdough bread, sprinkled with coarse sea salt.
  • Mashed potato, on first thought one has doubts, but it really does wonders for releasing the flavour and is a great way to share it around the table. Truly a wonderful and simple way to get your truffle dosage. Use cream/butter/olive oil in the mashed potato in your favourite style, stir through finely shaved truffle and allow to sit for 20 minutes or so for the flavour to release, reheat a little and serve. Dont forget enough salt to make it tasty, it helps the truffle, even if you are usually a low salt person. {A Truffled mash potato was our introduction to this culinary delight}
  • Chef's priviledge, trimmings normally go into the dish, or butter, but a little into a shot of vodka is amazing. (let sit for >20minutes) Alternatively 5-7g into a full bottle overnight, & like all good vodka store for an hour or two in a freezer prior to serving.
  • A simple pumpkin soup with slivers of fresh truffles sliced over the served dish, allow to stand a minute and see the truffle melt on the surface. Quite dramatic when done at the table.
  • Truffle butter. See recipe it is best used within 2-3 days {a week will see you lamenting the loss of good truffle}
  • Truffle oil: It is best to only infuse oil for immediate use. Eg. Make a salad dressing with a touch of balsamic or lemon juice. Great for the first Spring salads. Also use mild olive oils, not "extra virgin" grades, as the extra flavour negates the truffle a little bit.
    Do not attempt to make and store truffle infused olive oil for any length of time. Attempts to do so without sterilising the oil will go rancid, and the aroma would break down in a few weeks anyhow.
    Commercial truffle oils rely entirely on artificial aroma (2,4 dithiapentane, and a few other components) for their overpowering strength. Thus they all seem to smell like garlic and burnt stainless steel. White truffles do have garlic notes to their aroma, but black truffles do not.