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Cooking With Truffles

Albertina Roca
  |   January 16, 2015   |  

Fresh truffles are a delicate, sublime ingredient, and any enterprise that involves this delicacy should be entered with the outmost of preparation and thought. So how do you prepare truffles? Much care should go into examining the kind of gourmet truffle in your possession to determine how best to use it. Things to consider: is it summer, winter, black, or white? What is the presentation? Preparing dishes À LA PÉRIGOURDINE is nothing less of an art.

Truffles tend to infuse their odor and flavor to everything around them, which is why they work perfectly with ingredients that are submissive and agreeable to let the truffle take center stage.

Universal Rules

  • The Truffle Is King: The noble truffle is king, and other ingredients should bow to him. Never try to overthrow him with other foods with strong flavors and overwhelming aromas, as the truffle flavor will be lost - a horrible waste.
  • Fat is good! Fats work perfectly with truffles, and help bring the full flavor out, which is why truffles are usually paired with fatty foods like foie gras, butter, cheese, cream, and oils. Whichever kind of truffle you’re using, this rule works.
  • Holy Trinity: Pasta, rice, potatoes. Bland foods are brilliant to bring out the delicious flavor of the truffle.
  • Shave, Sliver, and Slice: You always want to maximize the truffle flavor, using the least amount of the ingredient as possible. So always slice into paper-thin wedges or strips, and let them work their magic. Use a truffle shaver (similar to a cheese grater) when shaving truffles. As for quantity, typically use 8-10 grams of truffle per person.
  • Save the Peel! If the recipe asks for a peeled truffle, save the peel to use for other recipes, or sauces.
  • Punch Up The Preserved. If you have eaten or cooked with Fresh Truffles before, don’t expect to get the same flavor out of Preserved Truffles. Although aromatically exceptional in their own right, we do recommend enhancing the flavor of preserved truffles with a Truffle Oil or Concentrato or a Truffle Paste, to truly bring back the fresh truffle flavor.

Fresh Truffles

Always should be used the same day, or within 3 days of purchase.

Preserved Truffles

Have a long shelf life, but after opening consume within a week.

Cooking with Winter Black Truffles

This famed truffle is the prize ingredient of chefs everywhere from five star restaurants to sophisticated kitchens. While you will find many connoisseurs have different opinions on the preparation of Winter Black truffles, there are some universally respected precepts:
  • Winter Black Truffles are best if used when cooking a dish, as their aroma and flavor are long-lasting, and will seep into your preparation.
  • The French adore their Perigord Diamond when used in scrambled eggs and an omelet, as eggs easily assimilate the subtle earthy flavor of black truffles. This is also a very easy way of using black truffles, since it leaves almost no room for error. Plus, if you’re using preserved truffles, you can also use the truffle juice in the egg mixture, for even more of that yummy truffle flavor.
  • Pasta, cuore! Indeed, shave, slice thinly, or grate over a hearty creamy pasta sauce, and prepare to reach heaven in one bite.
  • Most tubers and vegetables with clean, fresh flavors contrast nicely with the intensely pungent essence of truffles, especially celery root, leeks.

Cooking with Winter White Truffles

  • Because they are so aromatic and pungent, but their aroma tends to fade relatively quickly, White Truffles (especially the winter variety) should NEVER be cooked.
  • Keep it simple: Clean, slice or shave over some cooked risotto or pasta and you’re done.
  • They should never be mixed with any ingredient high in acidity, which would cause the flavor of the truffle to subside.
  • Let the truffle work its magic, and always add towards the end of the preparation.
  • Want to be super ingenious (ok, so we stole this from Wolfgang Puck)? Top a deluxe cheese pizza!

Cooking with Summer Black Truffles

  • Since summer black truffles are the less expensive of the bunch, you can be more creative. Basically follow the instructions for winter black truffles, but feel free to experiment with different truffle recipes and ingredients, always remembering the flavor will be much more subtle than the winter variety, so it won't be as spectacular.

Cooking with Summer White Truffles

  • Use the same way you would use a winter white truffle, don't expect the same pungent aroma. So in this case, you can choose to cook them and experiment more.

Questions and Answers

Q:We're just starting to cook with truffles, but I'd like to offer a couple of tips of my own. First, while truffle shavers give you these beautiful thin cross-sections that are a treat for the eye, I think you really get more impact in terms of flavor and aroma with a Microplane zester. Maybe add just one or two shavings for the visual appeal. Second, the advice on potatoes, pasta, and rice is very much on point. We make a "plain" risotto, gnocchi, or a baked potato and grate truffle over as a finishing touch. Scrambled eggs are also brilliant. Third and finally, put a few eggs in with your truffles in the fridge if you're going to have them around for a day or two. The truffles will flavor the eggs, right through their shells! I like them soft-boiled, but use them how you like.
A:Thank you for your tips and feedback!
Q:This Christmas, the gifts were Winter White Truffles & slicers plus jars of the preserved Black Truffles. Previously, our "T" dishes were cooked by Chefs in France & Italy. So this article was VERY helpful ! Thanks,Joe
A:We are very happy to hear that the article was helpful. Thank you for your feedback.
Q:Thank you for taking the mysteries out of cooking with truffles. It has made my life much easier.
A:You're very welcome, Trisha. We're glad you found this article helpful and wish you all the success cooking with truffles!

Rate this Article

As a novice at cooking with gourmet ingredients, I find your tutorials interesting and informative!
Connie from Memphis, TN


Albertina Roca

Meet Albertina, a seasoned food writing wordsmith and marketing creative split between the sizzling vibes of Miami and the charming streets of Buenos Aires. With a solid 20 years in the traditional and digital advertising world for the gourmet food industry, she’s mastered the art of making words as mouthwatering as the dishes they describe. She’s proudly been part of the Gourmet Food Store family (and its brands) since its very beginnings, and what a fun, flavor-packed journey it has been!

Her journey began at Rutgers College, where she studied in History and Political Science, with a minor in English Lit. She honed her craft at The Miami Ad School in South Beach, where creativity and copy collided under the South Florida Sun. From the neon streets of South Beach to the tango beats of Buenos Aires, her pen dances with the rhythm of whatever gastronomic tales she gets to write at the time.

Currently savoring life in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she’s bilingual in English and Spanish, an avid reader, and cheese addict.

Her writing? Seasoned with creativity, spiced with experience, and garnished with a dash of wit.

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