What is it really that is so appealing about truffles? There's no doubt that the hoopla does contribute to their appeal. But one must wonder how it got started in the first place. Certainly this is in part attributable to their rarity. Truffles are a challenge to find, largely because they grow underground, invisible to the eye. It takes a "nose" to find a truffle, usually a trained dog, and in some cases pigs.
Still, if you've ever experienced a fine quality truffle paired with a fine quality dish, you may begin to catch on to the momentum behind their tremendous appeal. They have a certain texture - tender but with some "tooth." Each fragment of truffle releases a pungent flavor which just plain doesn't taste like anything else. It creates depth in what may otherwise be a very simple recipe.
Many dishes are improved by just a small dash of truffle oil. Hint: Use truffle oils sparingly - a little goes a long way! A bit of white truffle oil drizzled on risotto or added to mashed potatoes is wonderful. Black truffle oil is great in a red wine vinaigrette and in scrambled eggs. Use either one or both on pasta dishes.
Storage of Fresh Truffles
Truffles are best stored for short periods by placing them in the refrigerator in a container filled with uncooked rice. They should last up to a week this way. Be sure to use the rice you store them in -- it will have a nice truffle flavor.
A second way to store them is in brandy or cognac, again in the refrigerator. The truffles will last a couple of weeks this way.
Lastly, if you do not think you can use the truffles within a couple of weeks, you can freeze them. They will keep up to 6 months this way, although they will loses some of their texture. To freeze, place them in a heavy duty Ziploc freezer bag, forcing out as much air as possible. They can also be sliced before freezing for easier use.
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