The term “truffle” may be an odd choice for people who do not know what it is. However, for the majority of people, even knowing that it is a type of mushroom does not guarantee that they know exactly what it looks like. Most people have only seen the white or gray surface of the fruit of a Truffles tree. For some people, this is all that they know of the truffle. For others, however, the name brings to mind visions of chocolate truffles, which would be a more appropriate description of this beautiful, delicate treat.
A truffle, also called a Feta, is the underground fruiting body of a tiny subterranean fungus, primarily one of the species Cladosporium. This mushroom is found in moist soils around the Mediterranean and in France. In addition to Tuber, several other genera of truffles are known, including Geopora, Peziza, Choiromyces, Leucangium and more than a hundred others. The Ascomycota are particularly common in Europe.
As with most things, the culinary world has taken to calling it something different, while most people still know it by the name they know and love. Some examples of variations on the name are: Fettuccine, Fushuff, Fushy, Truffle, Fuccuccon, and Fumette. For ease of reference, let’s call them truffle salt, since that is what they’re usually marketed under.
Truffle salt is available in several forms. You can purchase it in a block, which is fine for those of us who like to keep things uniform in appearance (although some would prefer to do their shopping from smaller boxes). You can also find smaller individual shaker packages, which are perfect for stocking up on truffle salt for events or parties. If you’d like to be able to take your salt with you more easily, try buying a bag of flakes or even miniature tubs. Most stores that sell this type of salt will have them in stock.
To make your truffle salt more interesting, there are a few different things you can do with it. Perhaps you want to use it as a spice for your favorite recipes. You can buy pepper, thyme, or ginger for flavoring your soups, stews, salads, and grilled dishes. There are even kits available on the market for making your own seasoning mixes, which can be used on just about any meat. Alternatively, black truffle salt offers its own special flavors that can add to your meals without cluttering your refrigerator.
If you’ve never cooked with truffles before, you may be surprised at how easy they make it to incorporate them into your daily diet. Because of their firm texture, you can use truffle salt to top various dishes, such as raw pasta or oatmeal, or as a topping on yogurt or ice cream. Because of their salty flavor, you might also enjoy using it on your sandwiches or hamburgers. You can certainly see how versatile truffles can be!
If you’re looking for a subtle flavor to enhance the textures and flavors in foods, consider buying a white truffle finishing salt. These salts come in two basic varieties: white and brown. The difference lies not in the color of the salt, but in the number of grains in the crystal. Brown grains have fewer grains than white grains. With a slight aroma and almost no crunch, white truffle finishing salts are perfect for cooking or baking appetizers, while brown provides a richer, full-bodied taste with a distinct aroma.
Of course, white truffles wouldn’t be egg-shaped without a strong aroma. Eggshells have a very distinctive flavour, one that is slightly metallic and has an almost burnt taste. When adding eggshells to soups, stews, or chowders, you can draw out and enhance this natural savoury flavour. They also go great on grilled meat, making white truffle eggs an excellent addition to steak and veal dishes. Grilled chicken and turkey also have a nice, subtle yet robust savoury flavour from eggshells, while eggs combined with cheese, lemon juice, mustard, or horseradish can be applied to nearly any vegetable dish.