Friday, March 16, 2007

Trader Joe's White Truffle Oil

Steven and I have always wondered what truffle tastes like. Does it have a unique taste or can it be compared to something else; is it absolutely spectacular? Why is it so prized and sought after? Will we like it? Recently I discovered that Trader Joe's sells both white and black truffle oil and at $9 a bottle this is a steal! It is a seasonal item so I was very happy to find that my local Trader Joe's had it in stock. I debated if I should buy both bottles or just one, if one bottle then which kind? I did not know much about truffles but I settled on a bottle of white truffle oil because I thought it was milder and would have more diverse applications (I later found out this is not necessarily the case).

Truffle oil is a good quality olive oil infused with the aroma of truffles. Truffles are a type of fungus that live in harmony with oak trees, and other deciduous trees, buried underneath the soil. They can sell for up to $2000 per pound! Apparently, truffles emit a scent very similar to the male pig sex hormone, which explains why female pigs were used to find these prized morsels (nowadays they use dogs because pigs often ate the truffle). Truffles and truffle oil are very pungent and pack quite the punch so a little goes a long way (a dish can be easily ruined by using too much truffle); it can be used on pasta, salad, risotto, foie gras, poultry, eggs, potatoes, etc.

Truffle oil should be stored in a dark cool place and used within 3 to 4 months. I can't see myself using the entire bottle in such a short amount of time so after opening, I closed it tightly, wrapped some plastic wrap around the top, and placed it in the fridge. It might turn cloudy after a while but that will dissipate when it warms up to room temp (in a dark place).

The truffle flavor is very hard to describe; to me it is unlike anything I have ever tasted and has a taste of its own. It didn't remind me of walnuts or mushrooms, like others have suggested. Honestly it was a bit... strange at first but the flavor grew on me. It imparts so much depth and body to whatever food it mingles with but it's not something I would use regularly.


Sarah said...

I, too, was a truffle neophyte until I picked up a bottle of white truffle oil from Trader Joe's. The aroma is strong, which earns Trader Joe's another check mark in my book. I've drizzled a dab on gnocchi and dribbled a bit on scrambled eggs. But my favorite application so far involves stove top popcorn. I mix a tablespoon of vegetable oil with a teaspoon or so of truffle oil and scant 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels in a pot, throw on the lid, and salivate. The rest of the recipe includes a few salt shakes and pepper twists, a cold and bitter beer (60 minute Dog Fish Head is my current favorite), and the most recent New Yorker. Sublime.

Amy said...

Hi Sarah,
I love Trader Joe's - you never know what sort of goodies you'll find there. They've quickly converted me and it's my favorite grocery store. After just one visit I was affectionately calling it "TJ's." I have yet to try the truffle oil on anything else but I have a whole list of recipes waiting to get dressed up. I can't wait to try your popcorn suggestion. Thanks!

janelle said...

I ADORE Trader Joes: was just there this morning in fact! Thanks for sharing about your truffle oil adventures!

token_girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
token_girl said...

Trader Joe's White Truffle oil is the BEST. I tried it on a whim some years ago and then bought (at least) 6 bottles of it. Good thing too as it isn't always available. I have since gone through dozens of bottles!

Currently I have 1 1/2 left and I am getting nervous as it isn't in stock! My favorite uses for it involve stuffed portabello's and a mushroom sauce/glaze for pasta. I use it liberally in both recipe's and it is divine!


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