1. Truffles are odiferous and flavorful. They are quite rare and, until they recently began being cultivated, are usually acquired by being foraged for. 00:21
2. Black truffles are frequently used in French restaurants; white truffles are more commonly used in Italian cuisine. They do not need to be perfect nor whole to be utilized: even if they have had rocks or imperfections cut out, they are still delicious. 00:51
3. To shave a truffle, briskly run it back and forth over the cutting surface of a mandolin at the thinnest setting. The mottled, textured interior will be exposed. 02:53
4. Once shaved, the truffle can be julienned, chopped, or finely diced depending on its eventual use. 03:10
What You'll Need
-Mandoline or truffle slicer*
- Black truffles*
*See Chef Notes for further information
The name “truffle” comes from the Latin word for tuber. Truffles are recorded as a delicacy as far back as Ancient Egypt, where they were dipped in goose fat. There is a great deal of lore and mythology around truffles throughout history, and they have been attributed with properties from curing infertility to healing terminal illnesses. In truth, they can only legitimately be said to taste really, really good.
Traditionally, truffles were found in the woods by either pigs or dogs. According to Chef Paul, pigs have a natural sense for finding truffles whereas dogs need to be trained. The advantage to the canine foragers is that they are less likely to eat the truffles. Now truffles are cultivated, and there are a dozen different varietals that can be used in cooking.
Early season truffles have a fruitier smell; later season truffles have more of the mushroom-y, earthy smell with which they are often associated.
Truffles can be shaved or chopped; you can use a dedicated truffle shaver, a mandolin, or even a very sharp vegetable peeler. Truffles can be added to sauces or served on top of fish, meat or pasta. Chef Paul says, “you can put truffles on anything…” if you can afford them. A pound of imperfect black truffles such as those in the tutorial cost Chef Paul $750; the best ones might cost up to $1500, and white truffles could run as much as $2,500.