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Dec 22, 2009 06:33 PM

One truffle

While in France this summer my parents received a truffle (black, in a jar) from a generous host in the Perigord. I am making the Christmas Eve dinner at their house and they would like to use the truffle somehow in this meal. I have already got the Besh/jfood short ribs marinating in the fridge. We've also got some dried c├Ępes that I am thinking about using for a risotto. However, I can't imagine that adding truffle to the risotto would do any justice to the shrooms. I have considered making some kind of truffled polenta, but we always have grits with Christmas brunch the next day so perhaps not. In truth, the only truffle experience I have with an infused olive oil.

I would like to solicit the opinions of my fellow 'hounds. Considering that the only set part of the menu is the short ribs, how can I put this fungus to good use? It seems like it belongs somehow in the starch (risotto, polenta, mashed taters?), but perhaps it might shine in a special side dish or, even in... dessert? Any specific recipes or general advice are welcome.

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  1. I'd do mashed potatoes or risotto for Christmas Eve or can you convince the parents to wait until Xmas Day breakfast and put it in the grits? You could also shave it over a salad

    4 Replies
    1. re: Cherylptw

      if saving it for breakfast, be sure to shave some over the eggs!

      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Thanks to all who've replied so far. Sounds like no matter what gets made it won't suffer from a shave. I'm beginning to wonder how far I can stretch one walnut-sized truffle...

        ghg, would those be scrambled, or any preparation?

        1. re: Agent Orange

          whatever works for you - scrambled, soft-cooked or poached on toast, en cocotte....

          whichever method you choose, mushrooms and cheese (gruyere, fontina, sharp chevre...) play very well, and a teeny hint of freshly grated nutmeg can really send it over the top.

          helpful hint - if you decide to use in risotto or eggs, store the truffle *with* the grains of rice or the eggs (uncracked, in the shell) until you're ready to cook - you can use a plastic container with a tightly sealed lid. the aroma will infuse into them before you even take a knife or shaver to the truffle.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Thanks. Truffle or no I like your suggestion for the eggs. I'll have to try the shrooms, cheese, and nutmeg.

    2. i vote for polenta or mashed potatoes with truffles and pecorino.

      you could always channel Mario Batali and make lardo crostini with shaved truffle!

      1. I vote for shaving it over the risotto.

        1 Reply
        1. re: visciole

          Do you think shaving it over a mushroom risotto would dilute its loveliness?

          I'd go for the next morning over soft scrambled eggs. Or polenta. What a terrible problem :)

        2. I would never use a great Perigord black truffle in a risotto or in grits. That's for white truffles. My favorite way to use Perigord truffles is in a beef Wellington. I lay out the puff pastry, cover it with a thin layer of Prosciutto to seal the juices away from the pastry and making it soggy. Then cover the prosciutto with a generous layer of pate. I make my own, using duck or goose fat with chicken livers. Then cover the pate with a generous layer of dry duxelle, which I also make myself. A wide mouth tube (or no tube) on a pastry bag is a great help in getting the layers "layered." Then once piped on, just smooth with a spatula. THEN slice the black truffle and set it in rows down the duxelle, add the lightly seared whole tenderloin, roll up it all up and seal the puff pastry. Put it on a jelly roll pan seam side down. Use left-over puff pastry to cut out leaves and long vine-like strips to decorate the casing. If you're good with a paring knife, cut a few poinsettias from the remaining puff pastry and add to the vines and leaves. But I've also simply cut the leftover puff pastry in strips and used them to simulate a ribbon and bow wrapping the "package." Brush with an egg wash and bake as usual. And use any left over truffles (including the peels!) to make a Sauce Perigueux to serve alongside the Wellington. GREAT GREAT GREAT Christmas fare!

          This is my own recipe, and if I do say so, it's brought me some pretty high praise from some (then) world renowned chefs. Anyway, enough blowing my own horn, but this is a really exceptional Wellington. If you don't like beef Wellington, then the truffles are great with any great beef. Anything less is unworthy of them! And a really nice brut champagne makes a festive pairing. '-)

          2 Replies
          1. re: Caroline1

            You are one hardcore gastronome, Caroline. Sounds like those chefs were pretty lucky to get a seat at your table. That does sound like a great special occasion meal, and I might even try it one of these days (must one rear the ducks and chickens oneself?) but it won't be this Christmas. Thanks for sharing your expertise. The fate of this little black truffle is still in great doubt.

            1. re: Agent Orange

              Only once have I "raised" my own Christmas goose. When I lived in Turkey in the late '50s, a very dear Moslem friend gave my husband and me a live Christmas tree and a live goose for our Christmas dinner so we could celebrate our bayram (holiday) in a traditional Christian manner. He had driven fifty miles up into the Taurus Mountains with a forest ranger along, then had to dig the tree and its root ball out of the soil, the ranger drove a stake into the ground with a marker on it, then pot the tree, bring it to us for our Christmas, then return it to its home soil to replant it within two weeks, when the tree was marked with a code number, and if it died within two years, Saraya would have had to replace the tree. See? Some countries protected their ecosystems way back then.

              The goose was a huge white one. My housekeeper, who was a recently retired executive chef, tied its legs so it could not get up and walk around except for the three short periods a day when she herded it in the yard for a few minutes, then force fed it a special diet six or eight times a day.This was supposed to produce foi gras for us. The goose was huge! I was thinking, "My god, do we know enough people to invite for Christmas dinner to eat THAT much goose?" Then came the day when Fatma "offed" the goose and refrigerated it to age a bit. Turned out the goose was composed of enough feathers to provide down for a dozen or so comforters and a few king sized pillows! And enoubh meat for maybe five people, max. If they weren't heavy eaters! Oh, and no foi gras,, just normal every day goose liver. But every bite, every morsel, tasted wonderful because it was all seasoned with the love of a great Moslem friend. Oh, and we got the tree safely back into its home earth and it survived beyond the two year requirement. That particular Christmas, I think we were the only non-Moslems in the entire city that had a Christmas tree, and certainly the only ones who had Christmas goose for dinner. It was delicious, but if you want foi gras, the best way is to just buy it! '-)

          2. Why not just shave them over the grits?