October marks the start of truffle season, and we’re not talking about delicious rum-filled candies dusted with cocoa powder.
The truffles we’re referring to are a rare type of white mushroom only available a few months of the year from one area of Italy where they must be foraged by special pigs. Considered a luxury food item, white truffles are not something you’ll find in the produce section of your supermarket, but you can experience the sought-after flavor in white truffle oil, which is now available locally at Crave, gourmet food and gift store in Lake Charles.
"The rich, aromatic white truffle has been naturally infused into our high quality olive oil for a unique truffle taste you can enjoy anytime and with almost any dish,” explains Melanie McMullen, co-owner. "This oil will enhance all truffle dishes or can be used in recipes directly in place of real, fresh, white truffles.” She adds that truffle oil is meant to be a finishing oil, rather than a cooking oil used for sautéing or frying. This means it’s best used just before serving: drizzled over soup, risotto, or seared fish, for example, or whisked into potatoes or into a simple vinaigrette.
Because the flavor and aroma are quite powerful, Fran Avery, co-owner, says it’s important to use truffle oil sparingly. "A few drops just before serving is all you need to add for aromatic fragrance and luxurious flavor to enhance any dish. Try it as a drizzle over your favorite entrees and casseroles, brush onto vegetables before roasting or grilling, drizzle it on popcorn, or use it as an alternative to regular olive oil for dipping crusty bread. You’ll be amazed at how much you love the new flavor!”
Crave is located at 2801 Ryan Street. Call (337) 421-0040 for more information.
White Truffle Oil Recipes
Oven-Fried Truffle "Chips”
Short and thick, these oven-baked fries are modeled after British "chips.” Parsley, Parmesan, and truffle oil toppings give them a gourmet feel.
3 lb. Idaho or russet potatoes, peeled
2 Tbs. Crave olive oil
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional
1 tsp. Crave White Truffle Oil
Cut potatoes into English-style "chips” by slicing lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick sticks. Transfer to large saucepan with enough salted water to cover, and bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes. Drain, and cool.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Toss potatoes with oil in large bowl. Spread in single layer on prepared baking sheets, and bake 30 minutes, stirring potatoes and switching baking sheets from top to bottom racks every 10 minutes.
Transfer potatoes to bowl, and toss with parsley, Parmesan (if using), and truffle oil. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
Asiago & White Truffle Mashed Potatoes
6 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled
1 stick (8oz.) unsalted butter
2 medium cloves garlic
1 cup half & half
2 tablespoon Crave White Truffle Oil
1 cup grated Asiago Cheese
Sea salt & fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Optional: Finely minced, fresh chopped parsley for garnish
Dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size.
Place in a large saucepan add the salt, and cover with hot water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil.
Cook until potatoes are tender throughout when poked with a fork.
Heat the half-and-half, butter and the garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain off the water.
Mash and add the garlic-cream-butter mixture, grated Asiago and truffle oil.
Stir to combine.
Let stand for 5 minutes so that mixture thickens
Garnish with chopped parsley if desired