Truffles in Cooking

By: Rob Colbourn


Truffles have been considered a delicacy by gourmets for many years. As such, these highly sought after and hugely expensive items need to be used properly in order to get as much flavour as possible, without damaging the flavour of the entire dish or making the truffle taste too light for the dish. Careful attention to the details of execution in preparation should be paid in order to use these little spores properly in your recipes.

It is important to remember that we eat not only with our mouths, but also with our nose. In fact, the olfactory senses are far more acute than are our taste buds. Therefore, it is paramount to utilize the ingredients in such a way as to accentuate the aromatic qualities of the truffles. Whether you use white truffles or black truffles it is paramount to plan your meal and recipes accordingly.

Your recipe should tell you what to do with the truffles in order to achieve the best combination of taste and aroma. However, one should note that because of their unique flavour profile, the other ingredients in the recipe must also be of a high quality in order to accentuate their flavour not overwhelm the truffles. These other ingredients are to play a supporting role in the dish, rather than to take center stage.

Foods that are high in fat content tend to work well with the earthy taste of truffles. Things like cheese, butter, foie gras, eggs, and cream all tend to help accentuate both the aroma and flavour of the spores. Other fats can also be used, things like olive oil, canola oil, and even animal fats rendered from meat. Pork fat tends to work very well with truffles, but one must take care to use unsmoked and uncured animal fats. Things like bacon, ham, and prosciutto tend to have very strong flavour and can mask or hide the subtleties of the truffles in your recipe.

Because of the expense and the strength of truffles, they are typically sliced very thin before use. This helps to maximize the surface area of the truffle and allows the taste buds to fully realize the flavour they possess.

It can be difficult to find a good source for truffles, but in some cases you can find a good store from which to buy truffle online. Make sure you understand their shipping policies as well as their freshness guarantees. Fresh truffles are the best, but you can use fresh truffles for up to three or even four days. Realize that the longer you store the truffles, the less flavour they will contain with each passing day.

Another good pairing for truffles is pasta and sauce. However, one should take care to not include the truffles in the cooking process of the pasta or the sauce. Most sauces for pastas tend to be heavily seasoned and could overshadow the truffle if it were to be used in the cooking process. This is true of both tomato based red sauces and white cream sauces. The best way to use truffles in this fashion is to shave them thin over the top of the finished pasta and sauce dish.

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