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Truffles, Not the Chocolate Kind...

A truffle is the fruiting body of a subterranean ascomycete fungus, predominantly one of the many species of the genus Tuber. In addition to Tuber, over one hundred other genera of fungi are classified as truffles including Geopora, Peziza, Choiromyces, and Leucangium. These genera belong to the class Pezizomycetes and the Pezizales order. Several truffle-like basidiomycetes are excluded from Pezizales, including Rhizopogon and Glomus. Truffles are ectomycorrhizal fungi, so they are usually found in close association with tree roots. Spore dispersal is accomplished through fungivores, animals that eat fungi. These fungi have significant ecological roles in nutrient cycling and drought tolerance.

Some truffle species are highly prized as food. French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin called truffles "the diamond of the kitchen". Edible truffles are used in Italian, French and numerous other national haute cuisines. Truffles are cultivated and harvested from natural environments.

Because of their high price and their strong aroma, truffles are used sparingly. Supplies can be found commercially as unadulterated fresh produce or preserved, typically in a light brine.

Their chemical compounds infuse well with fats such as butter, cream, cheeses, avocados, and coconut cream.

As the volatile aromas dissipate quicker when heated, truffles are generally served raw and shaved over warm, simple foods where their flavour will be highlighted, such as buttered pasta or eggs. Thin truffle slices may be inserted into meats, under the skins of roasted fowl, in foie gras preparations, in pâtés, or in stuffings. Some speciality cheeses contain truffles, as well. Truffles are also used for producing truffle salt and truffle honey.

While chefs once peeled truffles, in modern times, most restaurants brush the truffle carefully and shave it or dice it with the skin on to make the most of the valuable ingredient. Some restaurants stamp out circular discs of truffle flesh and use the skins for sauces.

Truffle oil is used as a lower-cost and convenient substitute for truffles, to provide flavouring, or to enhance the flavour and aroma of truffles in cooking. Some products called "truffle oils" contain no truffles or include pieces of inexpensive, unprised truffle varietals, which have no culinary value, simply for show. The vast majority is oil that has been artificially flavoured using a synthetic agent such as 2,4-dithiapentane.

TRUFFLE BASICS To begin, let us review truffles in general to get a stronger sense of what it means to cook with truffles. Here is some basic truffle information:

  • Truffles are fungi like mushrooms, but they differ from mushrooms in how they taste and grow.

  • Truffles are quite rare because they are subterranean and difficult to find, nestled deep among tree roots.

  • Because of this rarity, truffles are considered a delicacy and are highly sought after.

  • They’re known for their unique, fragrant aromas and deep, umami flavors.

Now that you’ve gotten a run-down of the truffle basics, let’s discuss how you can cook with truffles.

TRUFFLE AS A GARNISH One of the most common ways truffle flavor is added to meals is by grating them directly on top of dishes as a topping and edible garnish. When restaurants or home cooks use truffles as a garnish, it’s done usually by grating raw truffles with a microplane grater on top of a dish. You can often find these truffle-topped dishes when dining out at luxury restaurants. Dishes that are commonly topped with truffle shavings include cuts of red meats as well as high-quality seafood dishes, a variety of pastas, potatoes in all variations, and a surprising number of desserts. Many desserts can include truffles within their recipes as well.

TRUFFLES AS A BASE FOR RECIPES Chefs can integrate truffles into many dishes by cooking them in various ways. Depending on the dish, chefs might cut truffles into smaller pieces or blend the truffles before cooking them within the dish they’re making. One example of this is the creation of truffle butter, which can be used as a base for other dishes chefs are seeking to add that truffle taste to. Truffle butter can be made by blending or slicing small pieces of truffle to add to the butter. However, truffle butter is not the only way to incorporate truffles in your recipes. You can cut up truffles and cook them into whatever your heart desires such as pasta, soup, stir-fry, or anything in between. Think of truffles like mushrooms, just more luxurious.

TRUFFLE PASTA One of the most popular ways truffles are used is in truffle pasta. Pasta made with truffle ingredients comes in many shapes and forms. When cooking pasta dishes with truffles, they can be cooked within a dish, used as a garnish, or incorporated as a truffle oil to top a dish.

TRUFFLE DESSERTS Another way truffles can be eaten that is less commonly known is within desserts. By blending up truffles or using ingredients like truffle oil. you can create desserts that mix the unique umami truffle flavour with sweetness. Examples of this include truffle ice creams, cakes, and chocolate desserts. It’s worth noting, however, that the popular desserts known as chocolate truffles are, in fact, not real truffles nor do they include any truffle ingredients. They could be made with truffle oil or truffle flavors if someone was truly interested in testing that theory. However, for the time being, they’re just chocolate snacks made to look like truffles.


Chicken Breasts With Mushroom-Truffle Sauce - Recipes _ Pampered Chef Canada Site
Download PDF • 596KB

Real Black Truffle Butter - Forager _ Chef
Download PDF • 84KB

Pasta with Black Truffle Cream Sauce - CucinaByElena
Download PDF • 940KB

Cheers, and have a great beginning to your week!

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