Truffles, mostly the black variety and some white, are available
canned in fine foods markets throughout the West. But now and through
December, a few of those markets have (or can quickly get) fresh
truffles from France and Italy.
Fresh or canned, truffles, are too costly to use in recipes that
don’t maximize their uniquely aromatic quality and curiously
delicate taste–as these do, with just one small truffle, about 1/2
ounce. Or use more, if you want to splurge.
Because you can buy fresh truffles one at a time, they may prove
less expensive than canned. They should feel firm and not look
shriveled. A black one looks like a lump of coal, a white like a brown
potato. Fresh truffles should last about 7 days; if you aren’t
going to use your truffle right away, keep it in a large, tightly closed
jar filled with eggs and rice. These foods will absorb the truffle
flavor and give you extra taste mileage from investment; use the eggs in
omelets, the rice for pilaf. Many people consider white truffles from
Italy choice, and these are most expensive–$300 to $400 a pound fresh.
Fresh black truffles are only slightly less dear, $200 to $300 a pound.
These numbers are less shocking when you realize that a 1/2-ounce
truffle costs about $10.
Canned truffles, less fragrant than fresh ones, come in units as
small as about 1/2 ounce. Expect to pay $25 and up for an ounce. Canned
trimings are a good value, if you plan to cut the truffles up anyway.
If you don’t have a source for fresh truffles, write to
Truffle Editor, Sunset Magazine, Menlo Park, Calif. 94025. Corn
Serve as a first course, or with sauteed or roasted veal or
Melt 6 tablespoons butter or margarine in a 10- to 12-inch frying
pan. Add 1 large onion, finely chopped. Stir often over high heat
until onion is slightly browned.
Add 4 cups corn (2 packages frozen, 10-oz. size; or cut from about
6 ears) and 1 cup whipping cream. Stir on high heat until most of the
liquid has boiled away; remove from heat.
Finely sliver 1 small (at least 1/2 oz.) fresh or canned black or
white truffle. Stir 1/4 of the slivers (and liquid from canned
truffles) into corn; set aside remainder.
Pour corn into a shallow 1-1/2-quart baking dish. Scatter 2 cups
(8 oz.) shredded fontina cheese over corn. Bake, uncovered, in a
400[deg.] oven until chesse melts and browns slightly, about 10 minutes.
sprinkle remaining truffles over cheese. Makes 7 or 8 servings. Fresh
Fennel and Truffle Salad
Serve as a first course.
Trim stems, any bruised spots, and feathery leaves from 1 large
head (about 1 lb.) fennel; save leaves and discard trimmings. Cut
fennel into thin slivers.
Shred 1 cup (4 oz.) fontina cheese and mix with fennel, 2
tablespoons white wine vinegar, 6 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and
pepper to taste. Spoon equally onto salad plates. Garnish with fennel
leaves. Thinly sliver 1 small (at least 1/2 oz.) fresh or canned black
or white truffle and scatter equally over the salads. Mix to eat. Makes
4 to 6 servings. Truffle Cannelloni with Three Cheese
Offer as a first course or a main dish.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter or margarine in a 10- to 12-inch frying
pan and add 1 large onion, finely chopped. Cook, stirring, over high
heat until onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
With a mixer, beat 2 large packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese until
smooth, then beat in 1 cup (5 oz.) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1 cup
(4 oz.) shredded fontina chesse, 1/4 cup whipping cream, onion, and
butter until well blended.
Thinly sliver 1 small (at least 1/2 oz.) fresh or canned black or
white truffle (if using canned truffle, blend liquid into cheese
Separate 6 egg roll skins. Spoon about 2/3 cup cheese mixture in a
band at one side of each skin. Sprinkle a few truffle slivers over
cheese on each egg roll; reserve about 1/4 of the truffles for garnish.
Roll skin to enclose filling. Place rolls, seams down, side by side in
a 9- by 13-inch baking dish Cut rolls in half crosswise so they will be
easier to serve. Sprinkle 2 cups (8 oz.) shredded fontina cheese evenly
over rolls, covering skins. If prepared ahead, cover and chill up to
Bake, uncovered, in a 475[deg.] oven until cheese begins to brown
at edges, about 10 minutes. Scatter reserved truffles on cheese and
serve. Makes 12 first courses or 6 entrees.