Inspired by my recent truffle vacation to the South of France, I decided to host a black truffle dinner as part of this month's Food Buzz 24, 24, 24 series. If you have ever been curious about truffles, this post will give you a couple of ideas for how truffles can be used in appetizers, the main course and dessert.
Even before I got my hands on the pile of aromatic black nuggets that I purchased from Gourmet Attitude, I had several tantalizing truffles appetizers to keep me well distracted throughout the night. Foie gras infused with bits of black truffles and spread over a toasted slice of bread. It was simply divine, imagine foie gras with flavors of port wine, wild mushrooms, and cheese. The spread offered a nice balance of sweet and savory with rich and earthy undertones.
Black truffle tapenade from Provence, which is a pounded paste of ripe black olives, black truffles, capers, and olive oil, spread over a toasted thin slice of French bread. This spread was luxuriously delicate, earthy with hints of herbs. It is a truly scrumptious appetizer that exemplifies the essence of black summer truffles at its best.
You may have already seen truffle cheese, but have you seen truffle salami? This was a first for me, and I found the earthiness of the black summer truffles to work well with the blend of herbs, spices and salt in the salami. It was simply delicious!
In nearly all of the truffle recipes I've read, the most common recommendation was to treat the truffle very simply, so as not to distract from the natural flavors that are so highly prized. This last truffle appetizer had thinly shaved truffles over a toasted slice of bread, drizzled with truffle oil and sprinkled with coarse sea salt. This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy truffle, simply and gloriously.
For the main course, we seared rib eye steaks from Prather Ranch, which cattle ranch that raises beef sustainably, organically and humanely. This tender well-marbled steak was topped with shaved truffles from Gourmet Attitude and thinly sliced chives.
Accompanying the steak were truffle mashed potatoes, which I learned from a French cooking class in Provence. Creamy, buttery with complex earthiness, truffles give an exquisite and sophisticated flair to this down to Earth classic comfort food.
To complete the entree, grilled asparagus was wrapped in prosciutto di Parma, and topped with shaved truffles.
For dessert, we had truffle panna cotta, which yielded a pleasant creamy luscious mouth feel with flavors of salted caramel and earthy cocoa undertones that were beautifully integrated. Also, intriguing were the textures that yield a slight pop from the microscopic vanilla beans and supple truffle rind.
Truffle honey was drizzled on one of the panna cotta servings, which added an interesting pungent sweet twist.
The dinner was paired with a bottle of 2007 Domaine du Pegau Cuvee Reservee, a lovely Chateauneuf du Pape I brought back from my recent trip to Provence. Robert Parker, among other renown wine critics, have declared the 2007 as a classic vintage in Chateauneuf du Pape, so I couldn't find a better reason to open this special wine than for this truffle dinner. It was most appropo given that the best French truffles grow close Chateauneuf du Pape. The 2007 Pegau is a beautiful medium-bodied wine, brimming with flavors of ripe summer strawberries, pomegranate, blackberries and kirsch. Although slightly astringent in its youth, this wine shows tremendous potential to grow more sophisticated in complexity and elegant as the tannins mellow in the years coming.
Exquisite, decadent and luxurious, this is a dinner we will not soon forget. Thank you Foodbuzz for sponsoring this event!