“Who wants to collect truffles must sow oak acorns”
… so the wise French peasants of Périgord, the present Dordogne, describe the very long-running enterprise of the collection of these precious tubers.
WHITE TRUFFLE In fact, only after 12-15 years from sowing, it is possible to collect at the foot of the oaks the first truffles, which grow in groups under their roots.
But, undoubtedly, the seekers venture into the woods in search of wild truffles, booty much richer in satisfaction and commitment.
In Italy, many regions donate these tubers, different in quality and culinary traditions.
In Piedmont, the Langhe and in particular the area around Alba, the Monferrato, the Alessandrino and the Po hills are the kingdom of the white truffle, with an intense, characteristic aroma reminiscent of methane, vaguely spicy and garlic.
Umbria, instead, with Norcia, Spoleto and Monte Subasio, produces the precious black truffle, with a not too pungent perfume and delicate flavor.
Finally, in Lombardy, the forests of the Lariano Triangle host the summer black truffle, called scorzone, with a less intense aroma and lower cost.
In how many delicious ways it is possible to prepare and use truffles, it is now known, but, thanks to the experimentation and attention of some chefs, it has come to magical and surprising combinations.
Acacia honey enriched with pieces of white truffle is the perfect accompaniment to a selection of spicy and aged cheeses.
The caviar or perlage of truffle, obtained from the juice of the precious black truffle, by direct extraction during cooking, subjected to a spherification process, able to create small, precious and shiny pearls, is excellent with a tuna tuna or an entrecote beef.
Of hard-boiled eggs, after having lightly beaten the shell to cause cracks, left for 48 hours in a glass jar with the fresh summer black truffle skins, in a well-closed container, they will turn into a wonderful appetizer.
The white truffle of oak or oak goes well with a salad of boletus porcini or a carpaccio of raw meat, but, in the farms of the Langhe tell that the perfect union is with the eggs, broken in the leftovers of bagna caoda and cooked while the heat decreases.
Prominent and heavenly is the fine black truffle foie gras with Armagnac reduction, a dish that embraces all the senses and gives an intense feeling of pure pleasure.
Audacious and exceptional is the risotto with buffalo ricotta, anchovy sauce with red prawns and black summer truffle, tangible and wonderful proof of the possibility of combining truffles with fish preparations.
Sea bass fillets, for a more delicate taste, or mackerel, for a more determined result, will stand out with scorzone truffle slivers.
What about a salad of fresh scampi embellished with a vinaigrette of oil, lemon and white truffle?
The combinations are endless and the continuous culinary research leads more and more to original preparations, which respect the genuineness of the ingredients, but which enhance their potential.
Even freshwater fish, little considered or little known, thanks to the truffle, is becoming the protagonist of a cultural and culinary renaissance.
Examples are the perca pike wrapped in a thin layer of potatoes, accompanied by a soft pumpkin cream or the fillets of burbot flame, sprinkled at the end of cooking with a glass of excellent grappa ripened and flambéed. Both recipes reach their maximum flavor with scorzone black truffle slivers at the end of their preparation.
PILLS OF HISTORY …
The history of the truffle is very old. Pliny the Elder, in the Naturalis Historia, explained its origin by attributing it to a thunderbolt hurled by Jupiter near an oak tree and in the Middle Ages, its aroma was considered a “fifth essence”, able to provoke ecstatic effects in men.
In his political activities, Count Camillo Benso di Cavour used the truffle as a diplomatic means, Lord Byron kept it on his desk so that his scent aroused his creativity, Alexandre Dumas called him the Sancta Santorum of the table.
An admirer asked Rossini, who had defined the truffle “the Mozart of mushrooms”, if he had ever cried in his life: “Yes”, he replied, “one evening, by boat, on Lake Como. We were about to have dinner and I was handling a wonderful turkey stuffed with truffles. That time I cried just taste: the turkey has escaped me and fell into the lake! “.
The anecdotes starring the hidden king of the earth, protected by oaks, poplars, willows and lime trees are truly infinite and demonstrate how, splendid and exquisite, embellishes any dish you entrust.