Terrific Truffle Oil

Posted by in The Coffee Shop

This delicious condiment can turn your most mundane goulash into mega gourmet with one drizzle!
Created by steeping the delictable truffle in olive oil, this liquid luxury has the power to elevate your everyday dishes to the most elegant and extraordinary. Possessing a truly unique aroma and flavor, truffle oil can only be described as having an exotic, sensual appeal. One whiff and you know you are about to partake of something wonderful and delicious.

Truffles have had a long and fascinating history, mostly owing to the fact that they are rare and difficult to harvest. Pigs and dogs are used to “sniff out” the fungi growing under the ground. The pigs are apparently attracted to a musk-like chemical produced by the truffle, the same chemical produced by their own saliva glands, and which promotes mating in the female pig. This same hormone is produced by the human male in underarm sweat glands. This is alledgedly why the truffle possesses aphrodisiacal qualities in humans, too! Hmm…could this also have given rise to the “men are pigs” debate? That’s another post entirely!

While truffles can be terribly expensive, truffle oil can be a relatively inexpensive way to enjoy their flavor and aroma. The flavor defies perfect description. Imagine, if you will, a pan of frying bacon. Take away, if you can, the actual smell of the bacon. What you are left with is the essence of the bacon, something we’ve come to equate with rich, tasty goodness. Whatever unique characteristics the oil itself has, it transforms and enhances just about anything it is poured on. Indeed, the truffle contains a large amount of glutamic acid, the same chemical active in monosodium glutamate, the flavor enhancer.

Perfect on everything from risotto to popcorn, truffle oil is extremely versatile. I recently made a pork dish in the crock pot. I browned seasoned pork butt, deglazed the skillet with canned tomatoes, red wine and balsamic vinegar, then added everything to a crock pot, with some onions, garlic, bay leaves and other herbs. The result was a rich, straightforward dish, ready to spoon over some buttered pasta with lots of cracked black pepper. I drizzled some truffle oil over the plate, and the flavors were immediately heightened, as if ignited by a flame. I wasn’t tasting just the truffle, but every nuance of the food – the pasta, the pork, the seasonings – seemed to be magnified in my mouth. Truly sensational!

I have since tried the oil on braised chicken, spinach salads, grilled steaks, even leftover Chinese takeout! The possibilities seem endless, and I intend to have great joy in seeking out as many as I can.