Fellow foodblogger, Nick, over at Imafoodblog, recently got his hands on some black truffles for this post. Apparently, he had more than his fill because he offered me one for the small price of one decent six pack of beer. I couldn’t pass that up!
Let me be completely honest: I was a bit scared of this thing. I had never cooked anything with an actual truffle (although I’ve used the oil before). I mean… I didn’t even really know what color they were supposed to be on the inside. All I knew is that they were supposed to have an interesting flavor (these were a bit more mild than most I believe) and that you were supposed to shave them thinly on stuff.
To make the pasta:
1) Mix the salt and flour together with your hands and then make a well on the counter. Add the eggs and yolks in the center of this well.
2) Ideally you want to slowly incorporate the flour into the eggs with a fork until you have a nice even dough. Knead this for about 15 minutes
3) Cover this with a cloth or plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes. You could also refrigerate at this point for 24 hours or so.
4) Then it is time to roll. Assuming you don’t have a pasta press, get out your largest rolling pin and work slowly. Try to get it as thin as possible.
5) Cut the dough into whatever shapes you want. You could make ravioli or any number of other fun things.
6) To make linguini, flour well, roll up tightly and slice it as thin or thick as you would like. Use the sharpest knife you have to cut so the dough doesn’t press down and cuts smoothly.
7) Once it is all cut, toss it lightly to separate all the strands. Cook pasta 4 minutes in boiling salted water. When the pasta floats, pull it out and toss it in a few tablespoons of melted butter.
8) Shave some truffle, parm, and scallops right on top.
To make the scallops:
1) Make sure the scallops are dry before they hit the pan. Literally dry them off with a paper towel.
2) Get a good pan going over high heat and add enough butter to cover the bottom of the pan (probably 3 or 4 Tablespoons).
3) Once the butter is seething and starting to brown a bit, gently set the scallops in. Make sure they aren’t touching each other.
4) Leave them alone for about 3-4 minutes and then flip!
5) Cook them for the same amount of time on the other side and they are done!
6) When I took the scallops off, I topped them with a sliver of truffle, some parsley, and the butter drippings from the pan.
So while I wanted to bite into this guy like an apple, I figured it maybe wasn’t the best idea. I was at a loss as to what to actually do with this thing though. I ate a sliver of it raw (because it just cost me 6 beers). I pondered. I referred to my Flavor Bible. Eventually, I came up with an appetizer and dinner I wanted to make.
Appetizer: Seared Scallops with Truffle and Butter Sauce
While the truffle was intimidating me, the scallops were not. I feel pretty comfortable cooking them. I’ve made them a few times before and I think they are super-easy. Personally, I like sea scallops which weigh in, normally, at about 2 ounces a piece.
Cooking the scallops
If you’ve never cooked scallops before, it is easy. There are only two things to really remember assuming you are searing them in butter (which is the best way to cook them).
– Make sure your scallops are dry before they hit the pan. Literally dry them off with a paper towel.
– Once you put them in the pan, don’t touch them!
Get a good pan going over high heat and add enough butter to cover the bottom of the pan (probably 3 or 4 Tablespoons). Once the butter is seething and starting to brown a bit, gently set your scallops in. Make sure they aren’t touching each other.
Leave them alone for about 3-4 minutes and then flip!
Cook them for the same amount of time on the other side and they are done! If they are cooked properly, they will be very juicy. It is okay if they are still a little pink in the middle. They should be firm to the touch, but not tough at all. They should flake apart. If these descriptions aren’t helping you at all, just remember 3-4 minutes a side if you have about a 2 ounce scallop.
When I took the scallops off, I topped them with a sliver of truffle, some parsley, and the butter drippings from the pan.
Other ridiculous things you could sprinkle on scallops:
– Gold Leaf
– Julienned 100 dollar bills
If you were serving these at a party, you could stick them with a toothpick!
Dinner: Homemade Pasta with Truffles and Parm
I’m getting pretty decent at making homemade pasta without a pasta maker. It is a bit of work, but with practice it is very doable.
Mix your salt and flour and make a big well on the counter. Now my math-inclined readers may notice that the recipe above only adds up to 5 yolks, but my photo below has 6 yolks. That’s because my eggs were a bit smaller than normal, so I threw in an extra one. Just a judgment call. It ended up working out.
I’m not going to completely detail the pasta making process in this post. I made it the exact same way I made it in this post.
I think my dough had a bit better consistency this time around. I was able to roll it thinner and yet it was pretty strong.
I used the same rustic cutting process I used in the last post which basically involves rolling up the large sheet of dough and then slicing into strands.
This stuff cooks quickly. Just about 4 minutes in boiling salted water. When the pasta floats, I pulled it out and tossed it in a few tablespoons of melted butter I had in another pan.
After that, I just shaved some truffle and Parm right on top.
The pasta was light and fluffy and each little bite was accented with a little truffle flavor and some nice Parm. (Don’t use the cheap stuff on this dish).
At the end of the day though, I think if I had to pick just one dish to make with truffles it would be the scallops. Those were absolutely awesome.
As far as the truffle goes, I enjoyed it. I’m not sure I would buy one at market prices, but I can see how it could be nice once in awhile. If however a friend of yours ever offers you one for basically nothing, don’t pass up the opportunity!