My thoughtful in laws brought me the most wonderful Christmas present from their recent trip to France, two black truffles! Truffles are considered "the diamond of the kitchen" in haute cuisine and are very expensive everywhere. They are subterranean fungi that grow in certain parts of Europe and are now beginning to be cultivated in the US. 60 Minutes did an episode on the truffle industry and compared the demand to the drug trade. That's a pretty potent image to me. Pigs are traditionally used to locate the truffle's underground hiding place. Maybe my two dachshunds could do some truffle work. They have excellent noses and dig with abandon when they smell something intriguing underground.
I wanted to taste the essence of the truffle without putting it in competition with much else. After a bit of research, I decided the best way to apply my jewel was on simple pasta dressed with olive oil, grated Parmesan, chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Then I used my basic mandolin to shave fine slices of the truffle on to the dish. Toss and serve. The delicate scent and earthy flavor lingered on every bite of pappardelle.
The next morning, I decided to try truffled scrambled eggs. This application really isolated the flavor perfectly.The unique, subtle truffle perfume added a complexity to the eggs I didn't expect and the ordinary soared to extraordinary. Moderate heat during cooking bloomed the essential flavor. Truffle has that sexy quality that leaves you with a memory of a beautiful experience long after the taste is gone. Too bad the truffle is such a pricey and rare commodity but then, if it where in every grocery store, it would lose its' mystique.