What is Truffle Oil?
ruffle oil is a flavored oil, consisting of a neutral base oil with a flavor suspended in it. This versatile ingredient is used as a finishing oil on various dishes. Chefs not only rely on truffle oil to boost and balance the flavor of dishes with fresh truffles, but also use it to add a complex earthy flavor and aroma to non-truffle recipes. Read on to learn more about truffle oil, and how to use it.
The Essence of Truffle Oil
Truffle oil is a flavored oil, meaning it consists of a neutral base oil with a (natural or artificial) flavor suspended in it.
Created in the 1980s as the taste and demand for fresh truffles grew, the concept behind truffle oil is to make the truffle aroma and flavor available year-long when rare, seasonal fresh truffles are no longer available. As the American fine-dining revolution expanded, every chef wanted to have truffles on their menu. If they didn’t have truffles, they used truffle oil, which created an over-indulgence. By the 1990s, it was hot trend, and the sometimes heavy-handed use of truffle oil, and its ubiquity led to a “foodie” backlash.
Making Truffle Oil
Steeping fresh truffles in oil may seem the logical way to produce truffle oil. This is a perfectly fine technique for making your own truffle oil at home, using scraps or leftover pieces of truffles. Homemade truffle oil should be used within a few days, or the truffle aroma will be lost. For commercial production, infusing truffles in oil is a costly and unreliable method, resulting in a less-than-potent flavor which dissipates quickly.
Thanks to molecular gastronomy a more reliable method was created to replicate the most pungent flavor notes of both Black Winter Tuber melanosporum and White Alba Tuber magnatum truffles.
The individual compounds that make up a fresh truffle’s secret formula occur naturally in other foods. Food scientists are able to replicate and combine these organic scent compounds in specific ratios to create concentrated truffle aroma. This flavoring is then added to carrier oils such as olive or sunflower, creating a full-flavored, robust and lasting truffle-scented oil.
Using Truffle Oil
For the best results, less is definitely more when it comes using truffle oil. Avoid prolonged or intense heat when cooking with truffle oil; instead think of it as a finishing oil. A small touch of truffle oil added to a dish right before serving will add earthiness without overpowering. Both black and white truffle oils can intensify truffle flavor in a recipe when used alongside fresh truffles, and a scant amount can lend a subtle, luxurious flavor to a dish when diluted into a carrier, such as olive oil, before adding. Think of truffle oil as you do perfume. It’s a finishing touch that when applied correctly with a light hand adds intrigue and charm.
Varieties of Truffle Oil
D’Artagnan Black Truffle Flavored Oil is made with clean-tasting sunflower oil with black winter truffle flavoring. It has an intense, musky aroma and complex flavor. Black truffle oil adds an earthy character to mashed potatoes and french fries, gives simple egg dishes complexity and lends a headiness to hot-off-the-stove popcorn.
Our White Truffle Flavored Oil is made from first-pressed olive oil with Italian white truffle flavoring. It has a robust, earthy aroma with notes of fresh garlic. White truffle oil adds a kiss of truffle aroma to savory custards, makes a wonderful finishing oil for risotto or ricotta gnocchi, gives an earthy kick to salad dressings and is the crowning touch on Robiola, prosciutto and roasted garlic pizza.