I have a confession to make, and it probably won't come as a surprise to you - I am utterly obsessed with truffles. The entire process of farming them, training the dogs to hunt for them, connecting with fellow truffle enthusiasts, and of course, savoring those little black diamonds themselves, fills me with excitement and wonder. Their aroma, their rough texture, and the joy I feel when I hold them in my hands is truly unparalleled. And when the truffle season finally arrives, I can't help but feel a rush of joy, especially when I walk into that restaurant and the chef invites the entire staff to experience the first whiff of that aroma………… But!
All this however lead me to wonder , if there is actually a part of truffle cycle that could be more wondrous; and that it might be here right now?!
I recently came across a quote from that famous bear who has an obsession of his own: - honey!
“Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.”
I think I know what its called Pooh. With each tree I trim around, I can't help but wonder which ones will bear the coveted delicacies this year. Every morning, I check the thermometer hoping this will the first frost. And as I peruse the cheese selection at my local deli, my mind races with thoughts of which variety will complement my first truffle tosti of the season. The tension, the thrill, the sense of possibility - it's all a part of the truffle experience for me. As Jane Austen so eloquently wrote in Sense and Sensibility, "that sanguine expectation of happiness which is happiness itself" - that's precisely how I feel.
But what to do with this tension?
Well the other thing I cannot stop my self from doing at the moment is exploring recipes: Instagram chefs, Youtube, recipe books, anywhere I can find them.
So this week, I though I would share the joy and some of the recipes that have captured my imagination. Lets get into it.
Mozzarella in Carrozza
This is the Italian version of our 'toasti'. A better description might be a toasti on steroids!
So popular is this dish that everyone has had ago at it. From Nigella, to the New York Times to our very own Vincenzo Prosperi of Vincenzo's Plate. There are a million variations but so far, I have not seen any one do it with truffles. Literally translated from the Italian, mozzarella in carriage (think horse and carriage) the version I love best is by an Italian chef I discovered recently called Max Mariola. Apart from the joy he exudes for his food creations, his version caught my eye because he uses oregano which got me thinking, could I add Fish River Truffles? So the short answer is definitely yes, but. This article by Greg Baker at TastingTable is well worth your time if you are interested in paring truffles with a range of herbs including, oregano.
As for Chef Max Mariola's Mozzarella in Carrozza performance, you can find it on Instagram here. Enjoy!
This is a big dish. From its origins, its name and its complexity, if you are up for a culinary challenge this season, this might be it. Considered to be of moderate difficulty to prepare, its the kind of dish that could be a glorious weekend project.
Beef Rossini is a classic dish in French haute cuisine (high cooking), found in many high end restaurants around the world that was created in honor of the Italian composer Gioachino Rossini by the 19th-century chef Casimir Moissons. This rich and decadent dish is made from filet mignon, first pan-fried in butter and then served on a crouton. Finally it is topped with a slice of fresh whole foie gras pate and pan-fried again quickly before being served on the plate topped a Madeira demi-glace and fresh sliced truffles.
There are many versions of this recipe across the internet including some simplified versions, but the one that I like most is this one by Italia Squisita below. Again it's in Italian but i love the gravitas they give the dish and from what I have been able to find, their version provides the most detail in video form. If you don't want to deal with those subtitles, I have included some other versions of the recipe in the reference section below.
Barramundi and Fish River Truffles
This recipe is a bit left of field but appeals to my techi head. Do you remember we talked about the food paring databases and AI last post and that chefs use them to create new and wonderful dishes. Well did you know you can do this very easily without needing to access those databases and for free?
Yep, if you know the ingredients you want to pair your are already half way there. Finding the AI is easy these days, yep, we took ChatGPT through its paces and the results are not bad.
The recipe below was its response when we asked it to create a dish with barra and truffles. Not a bad effort in theory, keeping the volatiles alive with all that heat might be an issue but perhaps with the addition at the end, it just might come together well. Certainly something we will try this season. What do you think?
2 Barramundi fillets
1-2 tablespoons truffle oil (recipe here) ( Be careful about keeping truffle oil, we suggest you refrigerate it and don't keep the steeped infusion more than a week or two)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
12-18g Fish River Truffle
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the softened butter, chopped parsley, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper and quarter of grated truffle . (ideally this would be made the day before) Mix until well combined.
Place the barramundi fillets on a plate and pat them dry with a paper towel.
Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add the truffle oil.
Once the oil is hot, carefully place the barramundi fillets skin-side down in the skillet.
Cook for about 3-4 minutes, until the skin is crispy and golden brown.
Flip the fish over and add a spoonful of the truffle butter to the top of each fillet.
Place the skillet in the preheated oven and bake for 5-7 minutes, until the fish is cooked through and the truffle butter is melted and bubbly.
Remove from the oven and serve immediately, garnished with additional chopped parsley and very thin truffle shavings.
Not bad for a robot we think. Hope you enjoyed this weeks post. Give us a like and follow us on instagram if you have not already. If you would like to get an email every time we post as a reminder sign up at the blue prompt when it appears.
Royal Bathurst Show
If you are at the show this Saturday we will be there between 11 and 12 midday. Come up and say hello.
Chefs Signature Dishes version (has a nice video helper)