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Truffle: The Thousand Dollar Mushroom
The Truffles are back.
Shaped like a potato grows underground.
A truffle is a fungus or a mushroom tuberales. Delicate fleshy and savory like many other mushrooms. But this edible potato shaped mushroom grows underground like a potato how coincidental.
For many years European's have regarded these genus as a special delicacy France and Italy are known for the best variety. It is a rare pleasure to go to a French restaurant and just order any truffle meal of your choice.
Truffle season runs from October to January in most countries. Truffles are found on the roots of special trees. To name a few: Beeches, Oak, Poplar, Willows and usually all nut trees. The soil needs to be calcareous or limestoned. Their size will vary from the size of a pea to the size of a small grapefruit even larger ones have been found on rare finds. Some have been known to weigh about a pound or two.
Truffles build a sheath around the roots of the above named trees, this network around the roots absorb nutrients and water this feeds the tree and In turn the trees excrete sugars through photosynthesis and this feeds the fungus.
The star is the most desirable and sought after Black Truffle Tuber Melanosporum and other varieties they grow in abundance in France. Truffle deales in their thriving business seek the most lucrative return for their investments. The Black Truffle is stable for canning, condiments, cooking oils, essense oil and last but not least cooking. With an unmistakable aroma of garlic but more delicate and will adjust with the dish being prepared.
Italy's White Truffle: A couple among many, Tartufo Bianco, Tuber Magvatum is also a high quality truffle with a mild flavor. These truffles are coveted and competitive with other truffles regardless most truffles are too expensive for the average consumer. One can use the piquant seasoned oils small jar of perserved truffle to enjoy the taste. They are sliced thin served raw or sauteed in butter, served over hot dishes or salads.
Originally pigs were used to find truffles because they discovered them first. Historically they could be seen rooting in the ground and eating something that appeared to be roots. They could spend all day at this eating like pigs. They were even put out to eat what ever it was that they ate because the meat from the pigs who ate truffles were most delicious.
Average american market prices for fresh truffles.
Black Tuber Magnatum...Price from $ 1,000 to 2,000 dollars a pound. One truffle about $ 50.dollars. White Italian truffles $ 15,00 to 2,500 a pound. $ 100 per ounce. Truffle oil $ 25. to 35 dollars for a 10 ounce bottle. Oregon, state U.S. truffles are about 1/16 of that price and are very savory.
At Mario Batali's restaurant in New York a complete "Truffle" dinner of the menue can be had for the reasonable price of about $ 300 dollars.
Eating up the profit.
For years pigs were to dig truffles usually one man was needed for the truffle hunt just to keep the pig from eating up the profit. Can you imagine how much the pig loves truffles but he had to work all day and not eat any, I bet there was a whole lot of squelling going on.
Truffle sniffing dogs
Dogs love to find things if rewarded that is even better for them. Most of the time a pat on the head is enough. The truffle with it's savory smell and the dogs keen sense of smell a match made in heaven. Dogs are not interested in eating truffles unless they are cooked. To train your dog to be a truffle sniffer you should start when he is a puppy.
1. Start by teaching your puppy to hide his bone in the ground and later find it.
2. After he has learned to bury and find his bone. You bury the bone for your dog.
3. Give a command of your choice such as, fetch, find, go-get or a secret signal from you.
4. Put a small piece of truffle wraped in paper he will find it. He will find anything eatable.
Best breed for truffle sniffing:
At the Oregon truffle sniffing contest most winners are as follows.
German Shepherd__Golden Retriever__Labador Retriever: There are good dogs for this adventure. A smart energetic truffle sniffing dog found enough truffles for him and his owner to fly to France the next day.
Now you and your partner are ready to go truffle hunting make sure you have a bag of food and his special treats.
Some states in the U.S. where you can go Truffle hunting: Idaho__Oregon__Tenn.
Be careful of a variety of truffle that may be fatal or make you sick. You will not be able to mistake it the skin is speckled with pale marking and the odor is bad very bad.
Getting the best flavor from truffles.
If you dig your own truffle from the ground. Wash them with clean distilled water ( some Chefs do not wash them but mmearly brush and use a knife to clean crevices) brush gently with soft basting brush and pat dry with paper towel. Place in an airtight container two or three days to developed flavor.
Emeril Lagasse's: Truffle Eggs Recipe.
Eggs 1-dozen__1/2 cup heavy cream__4-oz. grated white cheddar cheese__drizzle of truffle oil__salt and white pepper__12 sea scallops, cleaned__3 tbsp. butter__12-slices crispy bacon__1-White truffle.
Directions: Wisk eggs in mixing bowl, add cream and 1/2 of the cheese mix together. Season with salt and white pepper. Drizzle in truffle oil to taste. Season scallops with salt and pepper. In large sauté pan over medium heat, heat the remaining two tablespoons of butter. When butter has melted, add egg mixture and scramble eggs 2 to 3 minutes until eggs are soft and still runny.
Assemble: Place a spoon of eggs in the center of plate. Arrange three scallops over eggs. ( sautee first 3-min. in butter optional) Place three slices of bacon directly on top of scallops, forming a triangle. Sprinkle remaining cheese over bacon. Garnish with shaved truffles, drizzle truffle oil on top and sprinkle with chives.