Buying truffles and truffle products is a risky business. But good compromises can be made. Lately I’ve scratched my truffle itch with D’Artagnan’s canned summer truffle peelings. They don’t have the punch and pizzazz of white truffles or Perigords, but they have a lovely woodsy flavor, and the price is not impossible, about $100 a can. I combine them with rich homemade porcini butter to make, as my teenage son would say, swag canapés. Be warned, however: Once opened the truffles turn quickly, so eat them within a day or two. Here are two recipes that use up a whole can. Both are from The Kitchen Ecosystem: Integrating Recipes to Create Delicious Meals, which can be purchased here, here, or here.
Crostini with Porcini Butter and Summer Truffles
Wine Pairing: I like a rich red wine like a Barolo, Amarone, or Chianti Classico. It's a perfect appetizer before a roast meat dinner.
- 8 ounces high quality lightly salted or unsalted butter (I use lightly salted imported Irish butter)
- 4 tablespoons porcini powder
- ½ cup summer truffle peelings
- 2 French baguettes
- 4 tablespoons minced parsley for garnish (optional)
- Preheat the broiler in your oven.
- Bring the butter to room temperature.
- In small bowl, combine the butter and porcini powder. If you used unsalted butter, add salt to taste.
- Slice the baguettes into very thin slices.
- Place on a cookie tray and toast until golden brown on one side, then remove from the oven.
- Spread about 1 teaspoon of butter on the untoasted side of the baguette slices.
- Add a good pinch of truffles, and sprinkle with minced parsley if you like.
You need dried porcini mushrooms to make the powder. Porcini is a catchall term for a few species of Boletus mushrooms, the best being Boletus edulis. Simply grind the dried porcini in a spice grinder. You will notice a lot of porcini dust when you open the top of the grinder. Don’t worry about it. It’s mostly dried spores. One and a half cups of loosely packed dried porcini mushrooms will grind up to about ½ cup of powder. You can keep excess powder in a clean ball jar in your pantry. The flavor will hold for about a year.
If you don’t have or can’t get dried porcini mushrooms, you can use D’Artagnan porcini powder. This recipe makes about 1 cup of butter. To hold the butter for future use, spoon into a glass tub with a fitted top and refrigerate until firm. It will hold in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Or you can freeze the butter for up to 8 months. You can also flavor the porcini butter with a teaspoon of truffle oil (just like the commercial guys do).
Poached Trout with Hollandaise and Summer Truffles
This is a very elegant dish, but must be served right away, as Hollandaise congeals.
Wine Pairing: Try a sparkling wine like Prosecco or Cava, or a not too oaky California Chardonnay, or a light red like a Nebbiolo.
- 1 3-lb trout, gutted, with head on
- 1 large bunch mint, dill, tarragon, parsley, or a combination, with the stems on
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 2 cups water or fish stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 egg yolks
- 4 tablespoons boiling water
- ½ cup summer truffle peelings
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Stuff the fish with the herbs, using the hard stems to secure it inside. Season the fish with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the wine and water into a flameproof baking pan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat. Place the dish in the pan and cover with a piece of parchment paper or tin foil.
- Place the fish in the oven and cook for about 25 minutes, until the skin pulls away from the flesh easily.
- Remove the fish from the pan and allow to come to room temperature. When it is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and take the fillets off the bone. Place on a platter. (I save the bones to make about a pint of fish stock: boil for 30 minutes with fennel fronds, a small onion, a bay leaf, and a quart of water.)
- Prepare the Hollandaise sauce (makes 1 cup): melt the butter in a small pan over a medium heat.
- Heat the lemon juice in a small pot over a low heat—do not boil.
- Fill the bottom of a double boiler with water and bring to a boil over a medium heat. Lower the heat to low and add the egg yolks. Whisk to combine.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the boiling water from the double water to the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Do this until you have added a total of 4 tablespoons boiling water to the egg yolks. Then whisk vigorously until the eggs thicken to about the consistency of a zabaglione or egg custard sauce. Add the lemon juice and whisk to combine.
- Remove the eggs from the heat and slowly add the melted butter, whisking the whole time, until the sauce is thick and shiny, just a minute or two. Add salt to taste.
- Pour the Hollandaise sauce over the fish. Add the truffle peelings, and garnish with fresh ground black pepper to taste.