Cooking with Truffles
The truffle has long been used as a gourmet ingredient – their delicate flavour adds that extra special touch to a recipe. They do require some careful thought when preparing them – this is not the type of thing to just toss into any old dish and hope it works.
Getting the best out of the truffle is about choosing the ideal ingredients to pair it with. They will infuse the other ingredients with their scent and flavour and like to be the star of the show. Choose ingredients that allow them to star.
When cooking with truffles, they must the star and need to be treated as such. The foods accompanying truffles should have milder flavours and aromas. Using a strong flavour in conjunction with the truffle will result in it being overwhelmed – a complete waste.
Fat and Truffles are ideal companions. Fat helps to develop the full flavour of the truffle. It is for this reason that truffles are usually paired with cheeses, oils and creams.
The delicate flavour of the truffle is perfectly complimented by the more bland foods – look to serving it with pasta, potatoes or rice.
A little goes a long way when it comes to truffles – You want to make sure that the slices of truffle are as thin as possible. You can even get a truffle shaver for the best results. (It’s a lot like a cheese grater.) You really only need around 8-10 grams of truffle per person – you really don’t want to overwhelm the palate by adding more.
If you are using a peeled truffle in one recipe, reserve the peel for use in sauces or other recipes – nothing need go to waste.
Fresh or Preserved?
There is a big difference between the flavour of fresh truffles and preserved truffles. Preserved truffles may not be as strong. You could add a bit more oomph with truffle oil or paste.
Fresh truffles do taste better but should ideally be eaten on the day they were bought or, at most, within 3 days.
Preserved truffles have a long shelf life and therein lies their major advantage over fresh truffles. That said, once they are opened, you should use within the week.
Truffles in Australia
Australia’s climate can prove tough on truffles but there are some hardy growers who have made this work for them. Truffles can now be enjoyed year round. The growing season for truffles in Australia is from the middle of June to late September – fresh truffles being available then. For the rest of the year, you will need to rely on preserved truffles.
The most important part when it comes to truffles is to choose a reputable supplier. It is the only way to ensure that you get truffles that are perfectly flavoured.
So you are not really into gourmet, and you are on a tight budget. Worry not because you can always go back to the traditional way of gift giving – lovely blooms that you can grow in your own backyard.