Going a little truffle this evening, heh, heh, heh. Just John and me, our usual Monday evening, and I’m itching to cook after a weekend of eating out. And I have this jar of white truffles, from Zabar’s, calling my name… I know, it’s nothing like having a fresh white (or black) truffle, I’ve had the real thing and it is truly intoxicating. (I plan on securing a purchase of even a small piece this fall. Always intend to, never quite nail it down, however…) But I’m hoping the jarred version will give more than a hint of true truffliness, so we’re having truffles two ways, both simple, both small. A crustless leek “quiche” first course, garnished with…shaved truffle. And then a simple pasta second course, angel hair finished with a smidge of cooking liquid, butter, tossed with…diced truffle. I’ll let you know how it goes… I figure even if I don’t capture much truffle flavor, there’s not a thing about leeks, eggs, or angel hair that sucks, so we should be golden.
Well, “little” ended up being the operating word. As in little, to no, truffle flavor. As in truffle muffle. Darn. I should have known, but hope springs eternal when it comes to truffles… I’d say you get a smidge more truffle flavor from the $7.00 D’Artignan truffle butter available at Byerly’s and lots of gourmet food shops. Sigh. However, I hit on a fabulous little egg dish, very moderate but oh-so-decadent tasting. Crustless leek “quiche,” made glorious with no more than a last-minute topping of 1 tsp. of creme fraiche per serving. My god, it’s incredible. (Now that’s a recipe I’ll post, in comments, below, even if I’m a bit saddened by my no-truffliness truffles. Boo.)
Crustless Leek “Quiche” with Crème Fraiche
3 Tbsp. butter
3 leeks, white/light green parts only, washed carefully and sliced thinly
½ tsp. salt
optional: handful of assorted chopped fresh herbs (tarragon, basil, parsley, arugula, or whatever you have/like)
½ tsp. salt
½ c. half-n-half
pinch of nutmeg
grind of black pepper
½ c. crème fraiche
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in leeks, turn heat to medium-low, and sauté until leeks are tender but not browned, about 10 minutes. Season with ½ tsp. salt and chopped fresh herbs, if using. Spread evenly over the bottom of greased tart pan.
In a small bowl whisk together eggs, half-n-half, salt, nutmeg, and pepper. Pour over leek mixture in tart. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until set in the middle and starting to brown and puff in spots. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm with a dollop of crème fraiche.
It's like an underground-growing mushroom, incredibly perfume-y and amazing tasting, you would love it. Heavenly. Difficult to acquire, expensive as hell, which makes them a real treat.
Here's a little blurb I grabbed from CNN.com, specifically about white truffles:
An uncultivable mushroom, the white Alba truffle is in season from September through December, grows underground and is sniffed out by dogs. The best place to look for it is the damp woods of the Langhe, where it grows in symbiosis with the roots of oaks, poplars, willows, limes and hazelnut bushes. It is said that the harder the tree's wood, the better and more intense the truffle's perfume and, therefore, its flavor.
The scent -- elusive but penetrating, redolent of ground and wood and vaguely garlicky -- catches you unawares, and like the dishes the truffle perfumes, permeates the senses rapturously.
OK, I'm going to show how stupid I am now, but...what the HELL is a truffle?? The only truffle I know about is a chocolate truffle!!!! :-) Explain please, Oh Priestess of Pate!