Thursday, July 20, 2017

How to cook truffle

A good friend called me the other day and said she had some truffle. I jumped to conclusions and thought I was about to get a dinner invitation. Yippee. 

But no, this mum of three including a young baby, was discharging truffle responsibility to me, another mum of three including a young baby. I can't say I blame her, I'm not leaping to host dinner parties either.

She'd been gifted the truffle, enjoyed some of it herself and thought that I was the most worthy recipient of the remainder. I should have felt honoured. And I did. But I also felt a bit of a fake. I wasn't even sure I liked truffle.

I'm in a lucky minority who has tried the black fungus before, but each time left me a little bewildered. 

The first, shaved onto raw egg yolk at Melbourne's Movida, was never going to end well given a) I'm not an egg fan and b) I became accidentally inebriated during the dinner. Rich, rich, rich food and a woozy head. 

The second was three years ago at said friend's house.She did a wonderful job, finely grating the truffle over risotto, but I was pregnant at the time, so the over-rich, woozy connotations gained more traction. Finally, I'm not even sure the third time counts. Truffle mayonnaise served with butterflied chicken? Rich food during a hot Tamworth summer.

Hence my challenge. I dared not waste this precious piece of black gold, regardless of prior experience. So I set out online to find a recipe. Risottos and pastas were common, but as a mum of three I have limited capacity to prepare a meal that must be eaten immediately.

Instead I found Roast Chicken with Warm Truffle and Cauliflower Salad, from French chef Guillaume Brahimi. Guillaume recommends slipping shaved truffle under the chicken skin. I didn't have enough so I reserved it for the warm salad. And can I say it was amazing? Or is that a bit egocentric given I cooked it myself? Best truffle experience by far!

Coincidentally Sydney Morning Herald's Good Food included an article on truffles the following week. My take-homes from the article were:
  • Don't heat the truffle above 80 degrees.
  • Store wrapped in paper towel in an airtight container in the fridge and change the paper towel daily. 
  • Allow 3-8g of truffle per person per course.
Finally, don't over think it. You don't' need anything elaborate to carry the flavour. Simple dishes are best, such as pasta, risotto, roast chicken and scrambled eggs. We hold the truffle up to some lofty aspirations in the form of French Brasseries and silver service, but try to think more of the marvel's humble, earthy origins when looking for inspiration.

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