I was fortunate enough to come by a fresh truffle this week. I am grateful to the Dean & Deluca representative who convinced me I needed it because it started the new year off on a very memorable culinary high note! The truffle was about the size of a large olive and deliciously and powerfully pungent. The refrigerator smelled so good I considered not using it so the fridge would smell like this forever.
There are many creative ways to showcase this earthy fragrant intoxicant, but the simplest, and in my mind the best way is an omelet. Eggs absorb the rich flavor like a sponge, although today I would use the truffles for a filling rather than mix it into the egg. It’s just a matter of personal preference.
By the way, when I say “earthy” I really mean it. The truffle was from the Burgundy region of France and had in its organic DNA the same elements that flavor a fine French Burgundy. The French call it “terroir” and it’s why they are more concerned with where the grapes are grown than what variety of grape it is. This truffle was aching to be paired with a bold French burgundy but alas, we would be having this for breakfast mere hours after a 3 hour New Year’s Eve dinner that featured numerous wines and champagne. We did not need anymore wine!
I started by grating about a third of the truffle on a microplane, and just barely sautéing it in butter. Cooking the truffle will diminish the flavor so really what I did was heat the pan enough to melt the butter and kill the heat when the grated truffle was added. They sizzled slightly and then began to glisten. The fragrant aroma in the house was almost overwhelming! At this point I added a tablespoon of sour cream and a tablespoon of heavy cream (Happy New Year!) Once mixed this would become the filling for the omelet.
The eggs were seasoned only with salt and pepper. Like any omelet I worked at high heat and cooked it very quickly, leaving the top soft. Just before removing it from the pan I distributed the filling across the center of the omelet, folded it over and plated.
I then decided to add a small amount of grated cheese. This is slightly controversial as there are those who would find it scandalous to adulterate the truffles with cheese. This was a very fine dusting of a hard cheddar and in my mind, added to the flavor without taking anything away from the truffle.
The result was a rich sublime food, simple in its origins yet creating an otherworldly experience.
Happy New Year. Here’s to a 2012 filled with great food and cosmic adventure!