How to make the best of truffles in cooking
They call it the black diamond (Tuber melanosporum) or the black truffle. It’s truffle season in many parts of France and down in our little corner of southern France, le Pays d’Uzès, the truffle season runs from mid-December till mid-March. Every year on the 3rd weekend of the month of January, Uzès comes alive with activity all around this delicate and at times elusive culinary gem. The fête de la truffe, features not only a cavage (truffle hunt) demonstration but also a gastronomic dinner (by reservation only), and the fabulous truffle market on the final day.
When one truffle could run you about 40-50 euros, you probably want to be sure that you do it justice. If you followed my past tips on truffles, you know that you should always question the truffle’s origin and be sure to use them quickly.
If you want your truffles to last longer than one meal, you may ask about how to store them.
For short-term storage
Fresh truffles can be stored for a maximum of 10 days, in a closed jar or container. It’s best to insert a sheet of paper towel inside to absorb any humidity. Store it at the bottom of your fridge.
Another option if you plan on using your truffles over the next few days, is to store them in your recipe’s main ingredient. For example, if you want to make a truffle risotto, store your truffle in the uncooked rice, with your whole eggs for an omelet or brouillade (scrambled eggs). As you would do for short-term storage, you want to store them in a jar and keep them in the fridge.
You can store your truffle in oil or duck fat as well. In this case, you will use the oil for a salad or sauté potatoes perhaps. Bear in mind that the oil will go rancid quickly. You can keep it for 2 weeks max.
For longterm storage:
The best and safest way to store your truffle over a longer period of time is in a vacuum-sealed bag in your freezer.
Cook’n With Truffles
Now comes the best part, how to use truffles:
First, find the right ingredients that will highlight the best of your truffle flavors. This is a flavor that evaporates quickly, so don’t cook them. Brush them lightly, then either crush them with a fork and add a tablespoon per person into scrambled eggs or use a mandolin to slice them on top of a truffle risotto. Add them at the end before serving the risotto but cook the eggs with the truffle because contrary to rice, the eggs cook fast so less loss of flavor.
Ingredients that marry well with truffle: Eggs, rice, cream, chives, leek, raw celery, butter . . .
Finally, please, stay away from Summer truffles, they are not expensive but personally, I find they have no flavor. Black truffle season runs from December to March in France. White truffle starts in March in Italy (Alba).
Now that you are armed with all this wonderful truffle knowledge, go forth and enjoy!