Nothing in the culinary world seems to inspire as much awe or trepidation than black truffles, thanks in part to the per-kilo price often bandied about in the media (a seemingly hefty 2500 AUD for Australian grown truffles). However, that equates to one average sized truffle being around 25-27 AUD and since one piece does go a long way, it’s not the frightening extravagance people may be led to believe.
Fortunately I live in a State where black truffle is successfully grown and can be accessed for a reasonable price. Manjimup, (in Western Australia’s South West) is home to a number of truffle farms and supplies their produce nationwide. The region also hosts some fantastic yearly events to expand your awareness of the black truffle and learn exactly what you might do with your precious purchase. I missed going to the Mundaring Truffle Festival (again) this year but fortunately the Truffle Menu I enjoyed at Perisher made up for it :)
Once in season, I usually treat myself to one or two truffles a year. Last month I used a few shavings to amp up an old school favourite. I had spied a devilled egg dish in all its retro orange glass glory at a flea market recently and I had to have it. We were paying a visit to some dear friends later that day, so I knew I was meant to prepare devilled eggs!
If you were born on the side of 1985 closer to the present, devilled eggs involves hard-boiled eggs, halved and with the yolks removed. The yolks are usually mixed with mayo and seasoning before being piped back into the halved egg whites. I prepared two fillings: one with some tasty Serrano ham blitzed up in the Thermomix, and one infused with truffle oil and finished with shavings of black truffle. So easy but boy did these devilled eggs impress!
Truffles are a natural match for a lot of foods such as egg, cheese and even chocolate. More often than not, you don’t need to do much more than add a few shavings to your favourite dish to enhance it. I’ve added fresh truffles to the humble scrambled eggs and it’s divine. It may seem a waste for some people but a truffle should be enjoyed in whatever way you like as far as I’m concerned.
The following are some truffle related tips I’ve picked up over time:
* If you want to regularly use truffles, invest in a good quality mandoline. They are useful for many things but perfect for shaving truffles.
* Store your precious truffle in an air tight container on a bed of uncooked rice. The rice will keep moisture at bay. Keep your container in a cool area of the fridge and not somewhere super cold.
* For some dishes, it’s worth using truffle oil to add flavour while saving your fresh truffle as a garnish. I’ve always enjoyed the simple pleasure of angel hair pasta with olive oil, truffle oil (only a few drops) and Parmesan. A few shavings of truffle on top of that would elevate that to an impressive entree for friends.
* If you get to the end of your truffle and can no longer shave it or it’s become a little old and hard, pop it into a small jar with honey. In a few weeks you’ll end up with a subtly truffle scented honey.
* While I think you should just ‘go for it’ with truffle, it’s best not to use it with dishes that have strong flavours. Think of truffles as an enhancement to something that is already fairly subtle in flavour such as scallops or foods that respond to a flavour addition like chocolate.
* Have fun with truffles. If you fancy a classic toasted cheesie with a touch of truffle, why not? You’ll be surprise how much truffle you’ve still got left to play with.