Three Rules for the Proper Use of Truffle Oil

truffle_fries_560.jpg
Photo by Lim Ashley
When it comes to truffle oil on fries, many people say "yes, please!"
My esteemed colleague Jeremy Parzen recently wrote an article decrying truffle oil as "evil" and as something akin to farts. Farts? Really?

If truffle oil were really all that bad, it wouldn't continue ending up on dishes in some of the best restaurants in Houston. As with any other pungent ingredient, there are some rules for using it, though.

  1. Get the right kind. Jeremy correctly pointed out that there are many truffle oil travesties out there. This is not the kind of thing you can just grab off a grocery store shelf and expect it to suddenly turn you into a gourmand. Seek out natural truffle oil, like this one. Truffle oil, ideally, is truffle-infused oil -- no more and no less. Locally, check Central Market and Trader Joe's for some examples of the real deal. Read the labels carefully, and regard any that say "essence of truffle" with a suspicious eye.
  2. truffle_egg_toast_sm.jpg
    James Whatley (Flickr Creative Commons)
    Eggs, cheese and toast drizzled with truffle oil? Mmm hmm.
  3. Put it on the right foods. Repeatedly, people cited potatoes, eggs and salads as the items that they enjoy with a light application of truffle oil.
  4. Use the right amount. More is definitely not better when it comes to this ingredient! It's akin to green olives or anchovies. A little enhances; a lot destroys. It is the overuse of truffle oil that drives people to say they'll never have it again. You're not going to prove your prowess as a cook by using more than a light drizzle, ever.

Here are some dishes that will either introduce you to appropriate use of truffle oil or allow you to grudgingly acknowledge that it does indeed have its place:

Like Jeremy, I'm not a fan of artificial ingredients or chemical additives (although that hasn't stopped me from eating Cheetos yet). But there's an alternative that he didn't mention.

truffle oil_sm.jpg
"Blue Moon in Her Eyes" (Flickr Creative Commons)
Demon... or delight? If you're suspicious of pre-bottled truffle oil, make your own!
Best of all, if you're a fan of truffles, why not make your own truffle oil? It so easy that it's silly not to. Yes, it's going to be more expensive than the pre-made kind because you'll need to actually buy a fresh truffle (or two), but then you will have no doubt that you're getting the real deal. It won't be strongly flavored like off-the-shelf oil, but that's the aspect that many people hate anyway.

Your chance to give this a try is just around the corner. A quick call to Central Market revealed that black truffles are due to arrive within the next two weeks, and white ones will show up in November. Luxuriate in a few shavings on a special dish, then preserve the rest so you can indulge in truffles the rest of the year when they're not in season. Keep the oil in the fridge and out of the light to keep it at its best. Protect it from air (place plastic wrap on the surface prior to sealing) and just take the portion you need when you use it. Leave the rest refrigerated.

Happy truffling!



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Central Market

3815 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: General

Dolce Vita Pizzeria & Enoteca

500 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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4720 Washington Ave., Houston, TX

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7 comments
DoBianchi
DoBianchi

Phaedra, thanks for the kind words here (the respect is mutual) and great post... I still can't get behind truffle oil or truffled oil but, hey, that's why it's a free country, right? Seriously, I love that our blog is a place to exchange ideas and a forum for great writing like this... and we need to connect for that glass of vino soon! 

buckley
buckley

Truffle oil tears at the very fabric of our society, and threatens truth as we know it today.

TheBurgerGuys
TheBurgerGuys

@UrbanSwank @eatingourwords there are none. Trash trash and trash

MJ713
MJ713

Beware

 

The Fatbastards are coming

Houstess
Houstess

Now let this be the last article on truffle oil for a while.  Three in one week is more than enough also.

Houstess
Houstess

While I like a lightly truffled fry or pizza slice, I ordered that egg toast at Dolce Vita recently and it was overwhelmingly soaked in the stuff and we couldn't get it off our table fast enough. And at $12 it was an expensive failure.  Keep it to a drizzle, folks.

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