Great news, gang! White truffles are in season now and because Northern Italy had such
a rainy and hot summer, the price of fresh truffles has dropped dramatically. For just $2,000 per pound, you too can make authentic Italian … What? Oh,
sticker shock. I get it.
Let’s go at this from a different angle. Truffle fries,
truffle mashed potatoes and truffle mac 'n' cheese are the trend in restaurants, right? And for good reason. The flavor
is redolent, earthy, yummy, umami. But is your corner trattoria using expensive
white truffles to flavor their fries?
They are using truffle salt, maybe a drizzle of truffle oil.
For egg and pasta dishes, they may also be using truffle butter—all great
ways to impart the flavor of truffle into the dish without spending the big
And it’s also super easy to do at home following a few basic
1. Don’t savor the
Truffle anything loses its potency with each passing day, so if you
got it, use it. This is especially true with salt. Oils and butters, because of
their fat content, have a longer shelf life.
2. Buy the smallest
quantity you can.
Sounds counterintuitive, but it’s not. If you buy a huge
jar of truffle salt, it will lose its pungency before you use up the salt. Buy
small, use it up and buy some more. That way you’re getting the freshest
3.Never cook with
your truffle oil/butter/salt.
Then how do restaurants do it? Truffle
infused products are made to "finish" a dish; a drizzle of truffle oil on pasta, just before serving, or a shower of truffle salt on a poached egg, just before
tucking in, will give the most oomph to the dish. Cooking breaks down and dissipates the flavor, even with that $2,000-per-pound fresh truffle.
4. Layer the flavors.
Using a few products will greatly enhance the overall truffle flavor. For an
outrageous truffle pasta, start with a dried truffle pasta, cook in unsalted
water, drain well and finish the dish with a drizzle of truffle oil, a pat of
truffle butter, a scattering of truffle salt and shreds of truffle Pecorino
5. Forget "truffle
shavings," "truffle sauce" or "canned fresh truffle." In my experience (I
bought my first truffle in 1996), these other "bits" of truffles cost a lot but
add very little flavor.
Need help using up your truffle-infused ingredients? Try one of these dishes every day this week.