Today is my daughters birthday, and her first away from home. Her sweet college roommate surprised her with a clean room and treats this morning which was really touching. I think I have had a more difficult time not being together on her birthday, so today was perfect for a cookbook review!
When asked by Morrow-HarperCollins Publishing to review Simply Truffles, I was delighted as I am a huge fan of Patricia Wells. I still have not made it to one of her Truffle cooking classes in Provence, but it is on my bucket list!
Simply Truffles, released in November, is broken down into a truffle timeline, discussions of all uses of truffles including preserving, and seasonal truffle menus which I really enjoyed reading. The extraordinary photos in the book are by Jeff Kauck. Twenty-five years in the making, the book was a labor of love, yet exciting for Wells as she awaited each fresh truffle season, with the chance to create new recipes using the delectable black magic mushroom. You will be happy to know that most of the recipes in Simply Truffles can stand deliciously on their own, with or without truffles. In most cases, the truffle is a last-minute embellishment. Truffles can be ordered through the links listed in the book, at Marx Foods, or you can visit a favorite resort/farm of mine, Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennesse to learn about American Truffles and Truffle Dogs.
I am sharing a recipe from Simply Truffles I made for dinner tonight, and it was simply delicious! It is now my choice for salad course at Christmas dinner, which I am in charge of this year. No kidding, the Belgian Endive, Pine Nut, Chive, and Truffle Salad is just that good!
It is a refreshing winter salad that offers crunch, a wonderful aroma, a fine blending of flavors, and a pleasing contrast of colors. Serve it with plenty of crusty sourdough bread.
Belgian Endive, Pine Nut, Chive, and Truffle Salad
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 fresh black truffle (about 1 ounce; 30 g)
- 1/3 cup (50 g) pine nuts
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- Several tablespoons best-quality pine nut oil (preferably Leblanc brand)
- Truffle Salt (recipe follows)
- 4 Belgian endive heads, trimmed
- 4 thin slices sourdough bread, toasted, for serving
- Equipment: A small jar with a lid; a mandoline or very sharp knife.
- With a vegetable peeler, peel the truffle. Mince the truffle peelings, place in the small jar, and tighten the lid. Reserve the peelings for another use. With the mandoline or very sharp knife, cut the truffle into thick slices, then into matchsticks.
- Toast the pine nuts: Place the nuts in a small, dry skillet over medium heat. Shake the pan regularly until the nuts are fragrant and evenly toasted, about 2 minutes. Watch carefully! They can burn quickly.
- Transfer the nuts to a bowl. Add the truffles and chives. Toss with just enough pine nut oil to coat the ingredients lightly and evenly. Season lightly with the salt.
- Slice each endive head lengthwise in half. Place each half, cut side down, on the cutting board and cut on the diagonal into thick matchsticks. Place the endive in a large salad bowl. Add just enough pine nut oil to coat the vegetable lightly and evenly. Season lightly with the salt. Arrange the endive on 4 individual salad plates. Top with the pine nut, truffle, and chive mixture. Serve with the toast.
Variations: For a colorful, heartier winter salad, add about 8 ounces (250 g) each of tiny haricots verts green beans, blanched and refreshed; seared pancetta matchsticks; seared fresh mushrooms.
It was only a few seasons ago, after I went rather wild about creating all manner of seasoned salts that I leapt with enthusiasm into the production of truffle salt. It’s magic and now one item that I am never without. Just the tiniest amount of minced truffle peelings paired with fleur de sel, or even fine sea salt, can transform a dish – an effective way to extract the most out of the costly truffle. Even in the heat of summer it is there in the freezer to perk up a salad, an egg dish, you name it. Don’t embrace truffles without embracing truffle salt.
Yield: 2 tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon (6 g) minced fresh black truffle peelings
- 1 tablespoon fleur de sel or fine sea salt
- Equipment: A small jar with a lid.
- In the small jar, combine the minced truffles and salt. Tighten the lid and shake to blend. Refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 year.
- For each use, remove the truffle salt from the freezer or refrigerator, remove the desired amount, and return the jar to the freezer or refrigerator.
Time for a Giveaway!
- You must be a U.S. citizen!
- You must leave a comment on this post telling me what you like about truffles!
Closing is midnight Sunday, December 11th, and drawing is by random.org, with winner announced Monday December 12th!
For Another Chance:
- Follow @fromagechick 30AEATS on Twitter, and include @fromagechick in your tweet!