Scrambled eggs with white truffle from San Miniato
Some things feel luxurious and truffles are certainly among them. We are in Italy right now at the height of white truffle season and just returned from the white Truffle Festival in San Miniato, still overwhelmed by the abundance of truffles and array of truffle products that were available.
We tasted truffles in several dishes, mostly with pasta, risotto, cheese and on crostini, but one of the simplest ways it was served and to me one of the most delicious was simply with eggs.
Truffles were offered with scrambled eggs, fried eggs and plain, runny egg omelette, with truffles either incorporated lightly into the eggs or shaved on top at the last minute.
What do truffles taste like? it may surprise you that truffles are prized more for their aroma than their taste. The aroma is earthy, slightly pungent, musky, subtle yet bold and the flavour follows the nose. Once you taste one you get it, it is special. I also tasted black truffles but I find the white truffles more alluring.
I wandered around the festival getting familiar with truffles, looking at them, inhaling their aroma, tasting when available. I talked to truffle hunters and sellers and watched a couple of cooking demonstrations using truffles as an ingredients.
Finally I set out to buy my first truffle in Italy, in season, in the area where it was hunted just this morning.
I picked a seller from whom I intended to buy. He had little glass jars I could use to keep the truffle in the hotel room refrigerator until I get back to my Tuscany “home” in a couple of days. Truffles should be used as soon as possible after they are removed from the earth and not more than 4-5 days after, that’s what I was told. We sniffed a couple of truffles on display. Which one has the best, most delicate aroma? This one? Or this one? What size shall I buy? how many grams? 50 Euros worth? 100 euros?
The truffle seller brushed off the soil from the truffle before weighing, as it is sold by the gram. We settled on one, irregularly shaped with delicate but recognizable aroma wafting from it. 48 Euros in cash changed hands and the truffle was wrapped in paper, locked in a glass jar and sealed tight in a plastic bag to preserve it for the next couple of days.
I am just glad I didn’t forget it in a hotel room’s mini fridge, I have left culinary treasures in similar circumstances before.
So today is truffle day in my kitchen, beginning with eggs and truffle lunch.
I made the eggs two ways, one simply soft scrambled, the other soft scrambled folded omelette. For seasoning I only put in salt and pepper, trying to keep the flavours pure so the truffle gets a chance to shine.
Opening the jar where we kept the truffle was rather exciting and the delicate yet noticeable aroma immediately wafted and perfumed the air.
I have a new and shiny truffle slicers that I bought from the family who took us on a truffle hunt in Certaldo. I set the blade to very thin and shaved a few slices of truffle trying to get the thickness just right and in the process had a few smaller pieces that broke off. I set those aside to be incorporated into the eggs.
I cooked the eggs with local butter over low heat, added the truffle bits (not the slices) and removed them from the pan while still soft. Eggs continue to cook for a while after you remove them from the heat.
I gently turned the eggs into one of the two new bowls I bought just for food pictures while we travel and set it on the counter.
Now that I had the truffle shaver set just right (I think), I went on to shave a few pieces of fresh white truffles over the eggs.
You know the rest of the story.
I don’t know if you can get truffles where you are, but I hope this inspire you to try them if they are available.
Tonight, truffled risotto. Stay tuned.
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Fresh white truffle
Melt the butter in a small skillet over low-medium heat.
Break the eggs into a glass dish and mix with a fork to break the yolks.
Add salt and pepper to taste and mix again.
When the butter is heated and melted pour the eggs into the skillet and begin scrambling them with a spatula, scraping from the side to the center and folding them over. You don’t want the eggs over scrambled into small pieces. Keep them fairly large and smooth.
While the eggs are slightly undercooked pour them into a bowl.
Set the truffle shaver to a thin setting and begin shaving the truffle onto the eggs.
Serve and enjoy immediately with more truffle and the slicer on the side.