Thursday, September 15, 2011

Black Truffle Paté

Perfect Pairing:  Scrambled egg whites

“We don't care to eat toadstools that think they are truffles.”
Mark Twain (1835-1910)

"The most learned men have been questioned as to the nature of this tuber, and after two thousand years of argument and discussion their answer is the same as it was on the first day: we do not know. The truffles themselves have been interrogated, and have answered simply: eat us and praise the Lord."
Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870)

When asked by a social-climbing Paris hostess how he liked his truffles, Curnonsky replied,
"In great quantity, madame. In great quantity."
Curnonsky (Maurice Edmond Sailland)
French writer (1872-1956)
 Ask any gourmand what they think of truffles and they will probably get a far-away, dreamy look in their eyes.  As you have probably heard, they are pricey…. really, really pricey.   They can be around $1000 a pound.  I don’t know about you but this is slightly out of my price range, or rather, out of my price universe.  Do not fret, you can enjoy the lovely taste of truffles and I am not talking about a drizzle of truffle oil. 
Truffles are found by dogs or pigs that are specially trained to sniff them out.  I get a kick out of this.  I picture a very pretentious dog named Fifi out in the forests of Italy searching for these treasures.   Fifi probably looks down her  valuable nose at the sad little poodles without this high calling in life. 
The taste of truffles is not for everyone.  People seem to either absolutely love the flavor or they just do not care for it at all.  They are really earthy and pungent, unlike anything else.  For those of you that do enjoy the flavor, but have not made your first million dollars, you would probably enjoy black truffle paté.   I was first introduced to black truffle paté last year.   It was one of those…. “Whoa… what IS this wonderful stuff?” kind of experiences.  I can’t even tell you what percentage of it is actually truffles, it is probably a pretty small amount, but it still has lots of flavor.  While this product is not available at all grocery stores it can be found at specialty food shops or Whole Foods.  It still seems pricey at $18.99 a bottle, but just a little goes a long way.
The Perfect Pairing for black truffle paté is scrambled egg whites.   It is a great combo because the egg whites are subtle enough that you mainly enjoy the flavor of the truffles.  I scramble the egg whites with just a little bit of salt and pepper, that’s it.   Another great combination is to top crostini or the parmesan thyme crackers I posted here with a little crème fraiche and a tiny dollop of paté.  Fifi, the truffle hunting dog, would be proud.

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