Truffles – the fungus, not the chocolate
Posted by Merritt Steidl, deli category analyst
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
If you love truffles, you aren't alone. People have been drawn to their exotic allure for over 3000 years. They’re rare and hard-to-find gems of the gourmet food world that are prized like diamonds. Truffles are valued at between $500 and $3,500 per pound, making them one of the most expensive foods in the world!
What is a Truffle?
Truffles, much like mushrooms, are a type of fungus that grow underground near the roots of certain trees. They are typically found in regions of France and Italy with the help of highly trained dogs or pigs. Dogs are now the more popular choice for truffle hunters because pigs often eat the truffles. Once a truffle is mature, the scent is strong enough for the animal to find it.
It is difficult to liken the flavor of truffle to anything else; however, most people describe them as earthy and musky. Truffles can be a spectacular addition to any plain dish such as a creamy pasta or risotto, eggs, cooked meats, or even cheese pizza. Just remember to keep it away from other overwhelming ingredients. Let the truffle flavor shine through as the star!
Truffle oils, salts and butters can be a great way to enjoy truffle flavor at a lower price. We have a great assortment available in our delis every day. However, if you want to treat yourself to the luxury of fresh truffles, they will be available for a limited time at select stores.
White vs. Black Truffles
There are two main types of truffles: white and black. Black truffles have a pungent, long-lasting flavor that’s great for cooking. White truffles have a strong, but fading aroma with slight notes of garlic. They are normally used raw by grating or shaving over finished dishes. White truffles are the rarer of the two, thus making them more expensive.
Truffle Recipe: Roasted Asparagus with White Truffle Oil
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and diagonally cut into thirds
- 1 (6ounce) package sliced portabella mushrooms
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch strips
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Lunds & Byerly’s 12 year Aceto Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Lunds & Byerly’s White Truffle Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/3 cup Asiago cheese
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Combine asparagus, mushrooms and peppers in 10 x 15- inch baking pan. Add olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper; toss until vegetables are coated with oil. Roast in oven, until vegetables are tender, stirring once (8-10 minutes). Add vinegar and truffle oil; toss to coat. Transfer to heated serving dish and top with cheese.
Amount: 4 servings