Savoring the PNW truffle

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by Sweta Agrawal

Back in April, Alana McGee, one of the co-founders of Truffle Dog Co. spoke at our members meeting and regaled us with tales of truffles from around the world and the PNW. I’ve made it a tradition to get a small amount of these truffles every year, and I was lucky enough to get both native blacks and spring whites from her last month.

Truffles have a reputation for being some of the most expensive food in the world. And, while truffles certainly cost more than most other mushrooms, they’re actually not too bad — for one, PNW truffles don’t have the vaunted reputation of the Perigord or Italian white, so they’re a little cheaper. And two — a little bit of truffle goes a LONG way!

So, what did I do with my 1 oz bounty? Well to start, you need to know that the heart of the truffle’s flavor is in its aroma — that’s why you never want to cook them! You’d destroy the aroma. But another benefit — this aroma is so strong, that just by storing your truffle in a tupperware with other items, like rice, cheese, eggs, or butter, you can essentially infuse those items with truffle flavor and still have the actual truffle left for eating!

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Infusing eggs and butter with truffley goodness! You can see the black truffle in the lower right corner.

 

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Rice, rather than paper towels, ends up being a much better way to store and keep your truffles fresh. Plus then you have truffled rice, which makes for great risotto!

Some things I’ve learned from the infusion process: Cheese is by far the best at absorbing the smell, the fattier the better. So far the cheeses I’ve liked best are a triple-cream brie and bucheron. Harder cheeses will absorb the smell/flavor too, but not to the same degree, and it fades much more quickly as well. The black and white truffles give the cheeses very different flavors — I’m a personal fan of the white! IMG_1597Eggs and butter will also absorb the truffle flavor in the tupperware, but again — it’s pretty mild, and I actually thought the eggs tasted a little weird. In truth, from now on, I’ll probably just do cheese this way. It goes great with a little membrillo!

After infusing, though, I still had the entire truffle left to enjoy. I made many dishes with my bounty, but two that I thought were particularly memorable were truffled polenta (polenta is a great vehicle for almost any mushroom) that went great with roasted carrots and steak, and a truffles, morel, and asparagus risotto.

Looking to buy your own truffles? I’ve seen them around at markets like Pike Place, but your best bet for truly fresh truffles is probably contacting Truffle Dog Co. directly. Or take advantage of their classes and train yourself a truffle dog so you never have to go without these special myco treasures again!