Ηow to Handle That Super-Expensive Truffle You Bought
Read the expert advice written by Rachel Johnson for Bon Appetit
Has this ever happened to you? You wander into your local specialty-foods shop, glance around at the raw-milk cheeses and cured haunches of ham, and figure, What the heck, I’ll just drop several thousand dollars on a few golf-ball-size white truffles. And then it’s like, OMG, how do I use these things? It’s okay—it happens to us all the time.
Well, after you finish reading this story, you’ll have all the answers you need.
Every year, at the beginning of truffle season (i.e., now), chef Jonathan Benno hosts a truffle training class for his staff at Lincoln Ristorante—and this time we showed up. Urbani Truffle Company’s Vittorio Giordano brought his precious goods from Alba and we all learned how to take care of these pungent little gems. And now, we share that knowledge with you, big spender.
Groom Your Truffle: Rinsing truffles in water turns them into a mushy mess. To remove dirt while preserving quality, use a truffle brush. (A clean toothbrush will work, too.)
Clothe Your Truffle: Wrap your little guy in a paper towel. (And, should you be lucky to possess more than one truffle—and, more important, more than one paper towel—wrap each individually.) Many suggest resting truffles in a bed of rice, but Giordano disagrees: truffles, which are 95% water, shrink quickly (they naturally lose 3%–5% of their volume per day), and rice, which is absorbent, might expedite that process (at least, more than paper towels would).
House Your Truffle: Is that paper towel secure? Good. Now put the bundle in a clean glass jar with a lid. This way, the strong aroma won’t affect other food items. Then, store the whole thing in the crisper drawer of your fridge. (Back to the jar: Can we talk about truffled eggs for a minute? Housing an egg in that truffle jar will only benefit your breakfast and keep your expensive little friend company. Win–win.)
Play with Your Truffle: Your truffle will not last forever. With just a week of shelf life, you should take advantage of the time you have together—fast. Shave it over risotto, scrambled eggs, or perhaps a classic gnocchi.
Lincoln Restaurant recommends 2 grams of truffle per dish.
Vittorio Giordano shaves a truffle paper-thin tableside
The aroma is the thing you’re going for, so you want those truffle shavings to hit the heat of your dish moments before you attack it with a fork.
The finished dish: risotto with shaved Alba white truffles. You want something plain and simple to really let the truffles shine.