Tuesday, December 13, 2011

In Season: Black Truffles in the Pacific Northwest

Truffles. Earthy, delicate, fragrant and expensive. While their European counterparts can go for more than $1500/lb, these small little hidden Pacific Northwest gems can be found for as little as $100/lb. While that might sound expensive, like mushrooms they don't weigh much and you don't need much as they pack a big culinary punch in a little package. My 2 little truffles here I purchased at Uwajimaya in Bellevue for $6.00 total and made a great meal for the evening.

Most recognized as 'Oregon' truffles, the truth is that they grow all over the Pacific Northwest; from Oregon up into British Columbia. The ones I just purchased here came from in Washington. Truffles (wiki) are fungi that grow just under the surface close to the roots of specific trees; oaks, Douglas-firs, pines and a few others. 

Black truffles can either be cooked with the dish or left raw depending on your dish. I used them with some fresh egg pasta, butter, roasted chicken thigh meat (I love protein too much to omit), and freshly grated parmesan. The fresh truffles were then both grated and sliced thinly on top of the pasta to finish. Less is more when it comes to truffles; less assertive ingredients...more truffle. They should be the centerpiece of the dish so they can be showcased and subsequently enjoyed as such. If you see some, grab them savor these dirty little gems. Just rinse lightly and rub them dry with some paper towels to remove any dirt. 

Truffle Tip: You can place fresh truffles in dry rice and place them in the refrigerator for a few days to store them. They will last a few days to a week this way.

Where: Local Farmer's market or specialty grocers. I bought mine at Uwajimaya in Bellevue.

When: November through February (generally)

Wine Pairing: I prefer a light to mid weight white wine or an earthy pinot noir. We enjoyed ours with a 2009 L'Ecole No.41 Semillon, Columbia Valley (Very Good).

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