I stopped for a moment and surveyed my plate.....Gorgeous slices of lemony roasted chicken lay before me and the herbs that had been used, some thyme and a bit of sage were still clinging to the crispy , buttery skin. There were beautifully roasted potatoes and a simple haricots vert with a julienne of fennel and feathery dill, proving to me once again that the French truly know what to do with a vegetable. All incredibly beautiful and lush, but it was the sauce that brought me to my knees........
It was a simple sauce, made from pan juices, butter and a bit of white burgundy. That alone would have been wonderful, but there were generous bits of black truffle laced all though the silkiness and it was impossible to miss the unmistakable scent of lustiness that permeated the dish. I was completely captivated and so was my husband. Eating it became an act of foreplay, slow and savoring sauce spoons clicking. Bread was used to sop up what the sauce spoons couldn't quite reach and at that moment I became totally enslaved, it was impossible to resist.
The truffle is legendary for it's supposed ability to excite the appetites. There's quite a simple reason reason for that...it smells just like the best kind of sex. French black or Italian white , say what you will of their rarity and of the exoticness of having an ingredient that is hunted by pigs and dogs alike. Yes , the concept is so very romantic...the image of a truffle hunter out in the woods searching for this fairly common looking bit of culinary treasure. We are simple creatures and the truffle Goddess as well as the men and women that beg for the fruits of her loins understand our passions well. That is one of the reason that a truffle can and will cost you a small fortune. They're seasonal foods and for that reason alone please avoid the cans of truffle juice and truffle peelings that you can find. I've never found any that lived up to my expectations and I truly believe that infusing them in fine oil is the best method for extracting the purest, sexiest flavor.
Give in for it's completely worth it. Fresh truffles can be infused into oil and if you place one in a jar of arborio rice for a few days you will have a risotto fit for the Gods...... Get a glass topped canister and a few fresh eggs and put the truffle in with eggs. Believe it or not the sensual aroma will permeate the shells and the scrambled eggs that you make will be divine. Just remember to cook them slowly, with lots of butter in a double boiler. This way the fine aroma will not be lost, the eggs will be creamy yet fully cooked and the little bits of the truffle that you've chopped and put into the eggs will be nothing short of ambrosial.
Since that first roasted chicken, I've spent a lot of time searching for truffle products, because I love them and my husband has an appetite for them that is never satisfied. You can get a wonderful truffled salt, truffle butters and many different kinds of pate's and infused oils. In the absence of a fresh truffle you can do what Isabel Allende suggests in her fabulous book Aprodite. She was taught by her grocer to chop up several black olives very fine and rinse them to remove any traces of brine. Placed in bowl that you've added some very good truffle oil to the olives will begin to completely smell of truffles and you can use them in the same way. Truffled mash potatoes are simply sublime..the ultimate in comfort food.
Which leaves me to one last thought.....a little bit of truffle oil mixed with a bit of rich dark chocolate dabbed in all of the right places tends to leave my husband just a little bit breathless......
To learn more about the fabulous fungi: