I have a whole lot of half-finished, less than erudite posts floating about on my computer at the moment, and in the interest of moving on to the next thing, and showing little Eat And… some love, I’m just going to post them all in a row. Naturally, first off is the oft-promised, and very late truffle post.
Given the nature of much of my work, I have to work seasonally out of season – as in, I write about the gloriousness of Autumn food in the middle of Summer, when it’s well nigh impossible to find a celeriac anywhere. This meant that by the time Autumn actually rolled around, I was a wee bit tired of it all. However there’s one thing that never fails to revitalise my excitement for all things cold weather because it’s just not available before then – funghi! Of all descriptions!
My local purveyor of all things green and tasty, Vegetable Connection started it all this year with their first shipment of chantarelles and fairy rings. Yes, I know it’s a bit naughty to be buying French mushrooms in the middle of Australian mushroom season, but I am not yet friends with a forager (if you are, or know of one, please be my friend, I’ll treat you right, bribe you with treats and wine) and the really exciting varieties are not easy to find, though I’ve since unearthed some pines and slippery jacks at the Vic markets. One smallish bag later (they ain’t cheap) we had a mushroom ragu on fresh pasta (similar to the recipe I cooked on Delish, which can be found here), and simple buttered chantarelles on crusty sourdough toast (Babka is my favourite) the next day. For my money, the simpler the better when it comes to sexy mushrooms, though we did go ever so slightly more complicated with a rather lovely dish of crispy skinned chicken maryland, soft polenta and sautéed mushrooms (cooked in the rendered chicken fat, naturally).
The other pride of Autumn/Winter popped up at the same Vic market stall in the form of black truffles. They’ve seemingly been everywhere this season, with a really good showing from the Australians. I’ve seen Tasmanian, Ottway, Manjimup and a few others, as well as the French Summer truffles, which naturally are not as pungent.
Again, we kept it simple with our little baby, just keeping it in a jar with some rice (to retain all the moisture) and eggs (to infuse). Eggs and truffles are one of those simple, sexy flavour combinations (I have eggs infusing with truffle oil as we speak), and it is incredible how much of the flavour seeps into the eggs in the jar. Toast, butter, soft boiled truffled egg and a few shavings of truffle and I am a happy lady indeed.
The first time I tried the real thing I was amazed by how subtle the flavour was, compared to the aroma (or should I say, odour – eu de smelly sock as some might say), and how incredibly different from the fakey oils it is. I’m not a huge fan of the oil, but it does have its uses. And no, they’re nowhere near as expensive as you might think. This one cost us about $40, but we used it every day for almost a week and then preserved the rest in butter.
Part Deux: Eat Harder coming soon.