Monday, May 5, 2008

The Bold and the Beautiful Purchase of the Week: Truffle Oil

My experiences with truffle oil have always bordered on the enigmatic. I was sitting at a little cafe in Fort Greene Brooklyn, enjoying the hell out of a cheese plate and a game of Scrabble, when I noticed something peculiar drizzled across my fromage. It had an unearthly kind of pungency about it-like a fairy dragged through the mud. It was very, very nice. So I inquired and was thereby introduced to white truffle oil. Since that fated meeting, I have tasted it in macaroni and cheese (Kerry Simon's restaurant in Sofitel LA-I must say it was a bit heavy-handed. Quite inedible, unfortunately), pizza, omelets, and even the occasional grilled cheese sandwich (the best-check out I have never allowed myself to actually PURCHASE this fungal-scented nectar, that is until my last trip to Shop-Rite. Yes, you heard correctly- you can buy truffle oil at Shop-Rite. I picked it off the shelf, gazed at it uncertainly for a minute or so, held tremendous debates about spending $6.99 on a tiny little bottle of oil and even more so on being able to have it on hand thereby divesting it of its mystical qualities, and then tossed it right in amongst the broccoli florets. Two days later...I used it. Here's how:

Truffle Roasted Potatoes

Organic Potatoes (I am VERY hot on these. I recently and accidently, because I'm usually pretty cheap in the old grocery store, bought a bag and could not believe the difference in taste. I don't think I've ever had a real potato before! They're SUPPOSED to taste sweet and tenderly fall apart. Who knew?)
Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Olive Oil
Dash of White Truffle Oil

Cut up potatoes in quarters, and toss with rest of ingredients in a bowl.
Spread out in single layer on foil-covered, cooking-sprayed cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour. Turn them after about 25 minutes, so they brown nicely on two sides.

Careful of adding too much of the truffle oil, this is a flavor best used sparingly. Your potatoes should be scented with it, not doing cannonballs in it.
As a side note, and one that some "foodie" types freak out about, truffle oils are not made from real truffles, which are insanely expensive and hard to come by (remember those pigs that snort them up?), but are engineered by the very finest noses and palates of our scientific community. Nice work ladies and gentlemen!

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