Simply Truffles, my thirteenth book, has been twenty-five years in the works. It was a true labor of love and excitement, as each new truffle season gave me the chance to create new recipes with that black magic mushroom. You will be happy to know that most of the recipes in the book can stand deliciously on their own, with or without truffles. In most cases, the truffle is a last-minute embellishment. Simply Truffles can be ordered through the links below, or through your local bookstore. Below, I share a favorite recipe from the book, one for Belgian Endive, Pine Nut, Chive, and Truffle Salad.
Belgian Endive, Pine Nut, Chive, and Truffle Salad
This refreshing winter salad offers crunch, aroma, a fine blending of flavors, and a pleasing contrast of colors. Serve it as a first course, with plenty of crusty bread.
1 fresh black truffle (about 1 ounce; 30 g)
1/3 cup (50 g) pine nuts
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
Several tablespoons best-quality pine nut oil (preferably Leblanc brand)
Truffle Salt (recipe follows)
4 Belgian endive heads, trimmed
4 thin slices sourdough bread, toasted, for serving
Equipment: A small jar with a lid; a mandoline or very sharp knife.
With a vegetable peeler, peel the truffle. Mince the truffle peelings, place in the small jar, and tighten the lid. Reserve the peelings for another use. With the mandoline or very sharp knife, cut the truffle into thick slices, then into matchsticks.
Toast the pine nuts: Place the nuts in a small, dry skillet over medium heat. Shake the pan regularly until the nuts are fragrant and evenly toasted, about 2 minutes. Watch carefully! They can burn quickly.
Transfer the nuts to a bowl. Add the truffles and chives. Toss with just enough pine nut oil to coat the ingredients lightly and evenly. Season lightly with the salt.
Slice each endive head lengthwise in half. Place each half, cut side down, on the cutting board and cut on the diagonal into thick matchsticks. Place the endive in a large salad bowl. Add just enough pine nut oil to coat the vegetable lightly and evenly. Season lightly with the salt. Arrange the endive on 4 individual salad plates. Top with the pine nut, truffle, and chive mixture. Serve with the toast.
Variations: For a colorful, heartier winter salad, add about 8 ounces (250 g) each of tiny haricots verts green beans, blanched and refreshed; seared pancetta matchsticks; seared fresh mushrooms.
It was only a few seasons ago, after I went rather wild about creating all manner of seasoned salts, that I leapt with enthusiasm into the production of truffle salt. It’s magic and now one item that I am never without. Just the tiniest amount of minced truffle peelings paired with fleur de sel, or even fine sea salt, can transform a dish – an effective way to extract the most out of the costly truffle. Even in the heat of summer it is there in the freezer to perk up a salad, an egg dish, you name it. Don’t embrace truffles without embracing truffle salt.
Equipment: A small jar with a lid.
1 tablespoon (6 g) minced fresh black truffle peelings
1 tablespoon fleur de sel or fine sea salt
1. In the small jar, combine the minced truffles and salt. Tighten the lid and shake to blend. Refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 year.
2. For each use, remove the truffle salt from the freezer or refrigerator, remove the desired amount, and return the jar to the freezer or refrigerator.