Brouillade de Truffes
Serves 3 or 4
The truffle, le diamant noir (the black diamond) is an elusive fungus that spends its entire life beneath the surface of the earth. Filaments emerge from the spores of truffles, elongate, then attach themselves to host trees of oak, hazelnut, pine, and linden. From this underground union, mycorrhizae are formed, and eventually the tree's root system is completely invaded. After five to ten years, a crop of truffles has matured at the tree's roots.
During the season, late November through February, the truffles are located by trained dogs or pigs with a keen sense of smell, although of no particular breed. I went truffle hunting once with a friend and two tiny dogs, each weighing no more than three or four pounds. They were so small we lost sight of them whenever they went through the overgrown landscape, their location noted only by the waving of the grass as they plunged along. But they found nearly their weight in truffles.
This is the quintessential truffle dish made at home and in restaurants throughout the truffle-producing regions of France. If you purchase your truffle in a market, chances are it will be already cleaned. If you find it yourself, or a truffle hunter sells it to you, you will need to rinse it first and gently brush away the dirt with a small, fine-bristled brush.
1 oz (30 g) fresh black truffles,
cleaned, if necessary (see note above),
and finely chopped
1/2 cup (4 oz/125g) unsalted butter,
cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper
Crack the eggs into a heatproof bowl and add the truffles. Whisk together until the eggs are blended. Place the bowl over (not touching) barely simmering water in a saucepan. Add the butter. Whisk the eggs continuously until they have thickened into a creamy mass of tiny curds. This will take about 15 minutes. Whisk in the salt and pepper.
Serve immediately on warmed plates.
By Georgeanne Brennan
Time Life Books
Cloth: $39.95, 1999
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created January 2000
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