We have all heard about truffles and may have even, on occasion, been able to savour this wonderful delicacy, but do we really know what truffles are?
At a depth of about 20 centimetres, you can find an underground fungus whose fruit constitutes a real delicacy. It is the truffle, originating from a mycelium (vegetative part of the fungus) that grows and forms in association with the roots of certain trees and shrubs that are known as truffle species.
How do truffles grow?
To cultivate truffles, you need to plant trees that have previously been infected with the truffle fungus tuber Malanosporum.
Types of Truffle
There are different varieties or types of truffles, but the most well-known are the black truffle and the white truffle of the genus tuber. The white truffle is the most expensive variety of fungi on the market.
Truffles in Spain
Our country is an authentic black truffle paradise, however the more traditional and most apt areas for truffle hunting are: Huesca, Teruel, Castellón, Soria, Navarra and Cataluña.
Today, the search for truffles is put in the hands of trained dogs, who guided by the smell, find these coveted truffles that form and grow under the earth’s surface.
In the past, the search for truffles was carried out by pigs, however the pig was ruled out for such complex work as it is a very difficult animal to tame. The delicate task was therefore entrusted to the dog, an animal that without doubt is much more receptive to take instructions than its predecessor.
Cooking with Truffle
We are in truffle season and cooking them is one of life’s great pleasures, therefore we encourage you to cook with fresh truffle whenever you can.
What’s more, truffles always manage to add their magic touch to any dish you try, both at home as well as in the best renowned restaurants.
At the Hotel Montiboli, we are accustomed to offering the best dishes prepared with truffles and for this reason, we are going to share with you one of the most appraised recipes from the great chef Jean Marc Sanz, our head chef from the Hotel Servigroup Montiboli.
It is the Ash Truffle dish, very popular in France with the name Truffe sous la cendre.
Recipe with black truffle
This is a wonderful French recipe. In traditional context, cooking with truffles consisted in working directly over a wood-burning hearth. To do this, the truffles were cleaned and after peeling were then wrapped in thin slices of bacon. In turn, the bacon wrapped truffles were then wrapped in layers of paper that were previously brushed with a small amount of oil.
The truffles were then placed in the hearth and covered with a large amount of ash and embers. They were then left for around 30 minutes (more or less, depending on the size of the truffle).
The curious thing was, that when opening the parcel up to find the truffle, the truffle would give off its delectable, addictive aroma which was impregnated furthermore with the bacon fat.
In other more modern versions, they began using a potato to wrap the truffle in. And we, in addition to adding our own personal touch to make one of our most signature truffle dishes, have resorted to the most advanced methods.
To prepare a delicious dish of Ash Truffle, you need to follow the following steps.
- Firstly, you need to get a good fire going and then leave it to burn to obtain the embers and ash.
- Once you have the embers, you need to bake the potato (in the embers) with the skin on. We recommend that you use a small baking potato although it is essential that it is larger than the truffle, so that the truffle can be inserted into the potato.
- Now you need to peel the baked potato (don’t discard the skin).
- You need to desiccate the potato skin in the oven at 80 degrees for about 30 minutes.
- Take the truffle and wrap it in foie and Iberian bacon, you only need a very fine slice (approximately 1mm thick).
- Now insert the foie and Iberian bacon wrapped truffle into the baked potato, in which you will have previously hollowed out the centre.
- Grind the potato skin so you can later cover it with bronzing dust (colouring with metal effect).
- Once the truffle with foie and bacon has been inserted into the baked potato, you then need to finish baking it over the ashes and embers, to conclude the cooking of the truffle. You can add an extra touch of smoke with a smoker (smoke tube with dried herbs).
- You then need to place everything over a soil undergrowth which you will have previously made. To make the soil undergrowth, you will need the following ingredients: 200grams of toasted almond flour, 10 grams of black bread, 50 grams of dried wild mushrooms (trumpets, boletus…) 35 centilitres of sunflower oil and 10 grams of salt.
- Once the soil undergrowth is made, we add some dots of truffle gel. To make the truffle gel, you will need some truffle juice to which you add 2% of gelatine. Once cooled and crushed, you will have a gel like texture with a strong truffle flavour.
- Assembling the dish is easy and consists of placing the soil undergrowth on the base with the truffle gel also called truffle soil. On top of this attractive base you then place the stuffed potato.
- The time has arrived to serve the Ash Truffle and we recommend that you do it Hotel Montiboli style, with a glass dome and smoke. This way you will amaze your guests whilst highlighting the fact that it has been cooked over a hearth.
We hope that after reading this new entry in our blog, you will be encouraged to make this delicious truffle recipe created by our chef Jean Marc Sanz.
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Enjoy truffle season and this delicious recipe that we have prepared for you.
Articles published in 2018