Truffles are the epitome of cuisine luxury, and you might have had them while eating at an expensive restaurant. Since they are so costly, you might feel tempted to believe that cooking with truffles must be an occult art that only chefs working in restaurants with Michelin stars truly know about.
But that’s not the truth. Cooking with truffles is pretty straightforward and simple. Of course, there are differences between cooking with fresh truffles and using preserved ones. The real challenge is how to make the peculiar taste of truffles work with other ingredients and shine in your dish.
The following advice will tell you all you need to know to cook with truffles. You might not become a critically-acclaimed chef overnight, but you will surely be able to try your hand at making some exquisite recipes.
1. Preserved truffles lose their aroma relatively fast
The chances are that you would most likely get preserved truffles and not fresh ones, which is why the first tip offered here refers to them. Preserved truffles come in containers that keep their flavor intact. However, after you open the container, they should be used within one hour and a half, or they will lose their specific taste. Also, make sure you have a truffle shaver around for easy prepping.
2. Don’t use more than 8-10 grams for each person at the table
Another thing you should know about truffles is that their flavor is strong, so you don’t want it to become overpowering. Count how many guests will sit at the table, and don’t use more than 8-10 grams of truffle for each one.
3. Truffles should spend as little time as possible in contact with other ingredients
Because of their volatile aroma, truffles don’t make a good home with other ingredients. That means that they are the last to be added, and overall prepping time should be short.
4. Preserved truffles don’t work with just anything
Another piece of advice you must remember is that truffles are not a good fit for just any dish. However, they can be used successfully for recipes that contain eggs, butter, or for béchamel sauce. As long as you keep these things in mind, you will be fine.
5. Never mix truffles with vinegar
Any acidic ingredients, such as vinegar, or lime juice, should be avoided, as they can ruin the delicate flavor of truffles. Don’t let eagerness get in the way when you’re cooking with truffles, as that could destroy any dish, not just one that contains such exotic ingredients.
6. Truffles are a finishing touch, not the base
You may see in movies how chefs add only a few shaves of truffle to a dish, and you think that’s only because truffles are so expensive, and restaurants would never hit their profit margin if they used too much. However, that’s not the case. Truffles are ideal for finishing touches, so too much of a good thing can turn into something bad rather quickly.
7. A few ideas for dishes that work with truffles
Risotto, pizza, and mashed potatoes are a few dishes that work like a charm with truffles. Just remember to apply the ‘less is more’ rule and enjoy your favorite recipes as you have never had them before.
8. Truffles come in more than one hundred varieties
You must know how rare truffles are. Growing on the roots of certain trees, and only under unique circumstances and due to a particular process, truffles are often compared to gold. But did you know that there are more than one hundred varieties of truffles in the world?
However, not all of them can be eaten, and that’s an important thing to know. People who harvest truffles know their trade, but you can’t wake up one day and decide to find your own truffles. The chances are you won’t find anything, but even if you did, you have no guarantee that you found one of the several edible varieties.
9. Truffles lose moisture and quality constantly
Truffles, even when fresh, don’t keep their quality and flavor for long. Usually, restaurants need to use them within a week, or they will lose most of their aroma. And it doesn’t happen all of a sudden. Truffles begin to lose moisture as soon as they are out of the ground, and with that, their quality drops.
Seeing how each gram of truffle costs around 100 dollars, that’s money being lost with each passing hour. Therefore, chefs know very well that they need to move fast.
10. Also, truffles love dry storage
Of course, preparing dishes with truffles only during their season is impossible, and that’s why methods of preservation and storage have been invented. Dry storage works best for truffles and keeps them as fresh as possible.