|There are two types of people who eat truffles: those who think truffles
are good because they are dear and
those who know they are dear because they are good!
|A subterranean fungus, which lives in symbiosis with certain trees, mainly the oak but also the chestnut,
hazel and beech.
Up to the beginning of the 18th century, their origin was shrouded in mystery: “Since, during storms, flames leap from the
humid vapours and dark clouds emit deafening noises, is it surprising that lightning, when it strikes the ground, gives rise to
truffles, which do not resemble plants?”, asked Plutarch.
In the Middle Ages, when they were looked upon as a manifestation of the devil, they feel into oblivion.
Having returned to popularity during the Renaissance, they subsequently suffered a further eclipse, but came back into
favour under LouisXIV and have reigned supreme since then.
The practice of using muzzled pigs to seek out truffles was common in the 17th century.
There are dogs, which can detect them as well as pigs. Some peasants, in areas where truffles are found, have taught
themselves through long experience to recognize the place where they are hidden.
Varieties of truffles There are 70 varieties of truffles, 32 of which are found in Europe.
Truffles are eaten raw or cooked, cut into strips or slices, diced or shredded, in the form or juice, fumet, or essence, or simply
for their fragrance:
“When you feel like eating boiled eggs, if you have some truffles in the house,
put them in a basket with the eggs and the next day you will have the best boiled eggs
you have ever tasted in your gastronomic life” (M.des Ombiaux).
Truffles in cuisine
Now, you can even try to invent your own recipe, just keep always in mind that:
a black truffle must never be grated or crushed in a mortar;
it must never be cooked or too warm;
never mix truffle and strong, heavy cheese;
always use extra-virgin olive oil and seasalt;
use it in dishes which are not already very flavoured (Ex. with boiled or grilled lake fish,
with boiled or grilled poultry and so on.)
How to clean truffles
Before you can use truffles, you must gently clean it from the ground with a soft brush, in
order to eliminate all the ground particles. Do not wash mushrooms, not even dirty truffles.
Truffles should alway kept dry in jar of rice or sliced and kept in brandy for up to 4 days.
The skin is edible and it must be ate exactly as the rest of the truffle, and it is very aromatic
How to preserve truffles
Once it has been found in a good condition, it is important to process the tuber as soon as
possible, because it is very easy for it to decay and lose its aromatic flavor. The solution to
this problem should be left to the specialized companies. Sometimes, however, you must do
it by yourself, so here are some advice: before all don't remove the ground from the cracks
because it will just accelerate the decaying process, but roll every truffle in a napkin and
put it in a can or a jar, in the less cold part of your refrigerator. The paper must be changed
every day. This procedure will allow you to save fresh truffles for about 5-6 days for the
white one and for 10 days the black one. You can even save the truffles in a can containing
rice, but this is not very smart, because you dry the tuber, taking the air off of it and
helping the decaying. Another system is to deep fry the truffles in the oil, obtaining a sauce
you can save in the refrigerator for about a month. Or you can crush it, if black, or slice it,
if white, and then mix it with creamy butter and add some salt. Then you shape it as a brick
or tube, as you like. Every time you would like to add to a dish the truffle aroma, you can
just add a small flake of this valuable truffled butter, resting in the refrigerator. It is better
to use the butter within a month from its preparation.
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