A truffle is essentially the fruit or fruiting body of ascomycete fungi, mainly one of the many varieties of the family Tuberculata, the subterranean species of which is the truffle fungus. It is one of the most popular foods in Europe and Asia, it's been a culinary staple for people of different cultures for thousands of years and is still widely used today in some regions of the world.
It has been used as food in North America for the past five centuries, and its popularity is due in large part to its medicinal value; a truffle contains a wide range of minerals and vitamins, some of which are beneficial to human health. The fungi in the truffle produce a substance called tannins, which are found to be very beneficial to people who have respiratory and digestive problems. It is also beneficial for those who have gout since it can help prevent the formation of uric acid crystals.
Some of the most common forms of this fungus are black truffle sea salt and white truffle salt. White truffle is simply a dry, fleshy variety that has lost its skins. These are usually harvested during the winter season and kept in cold storage to preserve the freshness of the fungi. The black variety of these fungi is actually a type of fungus that has many black colored skins, and these are used by some people for medicinal reasons. Black truffles have a unique aroma and taste, which are commonly used in a variety of recipes.
Both the white and black truffles are used in a number of cooking recipes around the world, although they tend to be used as main ingredients in dishes that are traditionally Italian. Traditionally, a truffle would be sliced and then placed in the center of a dish, such as pasta. However, some people prefer to cut the fungus into small pieces and sprinkle them over pasta, these are often eaten with some butter and fresh cheese.
A popular variation on the traditional truffle salt recipe is a white truffle salad, which is prepared using white truffles and olive oil as a base. This salad is typically prepared at least once a month in North America and in some parts of Europe, it is an easy way to bring out the true flavor of this delicious fungus. A mixture of white truffles, fresh spinach, and some other vegetables or cheeses is also served as a side dish.
When it comes to cooking with this kind of truffle, the white truffles are a bit easier to work with than black truffles because they do not have a hard outer surface. You can easily slice them and place them over pasta or cooked vegetables, this allows the texture of the fungi to shine through. Cooking them in olive oil works well, but you will find they are best when they are freshly harvested from their mushrooms, as they do not retain any of the water.
Other things to look for in truffles are the luster that their skin produces: this is a very faint color that varies depending on the species, but is usually darker on the skin of the mushrooms and a lighter shade in powder form. White truffles are slightly darker than the black variety and are often the preferred type of truffle salt. Because of this, they are better suited to making a dessert, since they create a lovely contrast between the colors of the flowers that the mushrooms grow in and the creamy texture of their flesh.
Today, you'll see truffle recipes that use different varieties of truffles. Most recipes use white truffles, although a few use the black variety to give the dish a richer taste. Whichever variety you choose, make sure you have plenty of these scrumptious fungi around the house for those nights when you want to add a touch of luxury to your table.