|Black and white Oregon truffles (Photo: Oregon Truffle Festival)|
In January, one of my culinary dreams is coming true. And yes, it involves truffles.
Thanks to the wonderful folks at Travel Oregon, I will be heading up to Eugene for the 7th annual Oregon Truffle Festival, which this winter runs January 27-29, 2012. Chefs, foragers and truffle maniacs like me will spend the weekend learning about, digging for, cooking with and eating white and black Oregon truffles, those aromatic little nuggets that take every dish they touch to a whole new level.
I love all truffles, but I'm particularly fond of the zippy little white and black truffles from Oregon. The wild mushroom guy at the Santa Monica farmers' market has them in season, and I've been known to show up late to work on winter Wednesdays because I've stopped to pick up truffles before heading to the office. The last time I wrote about Oregon truffles I got caught up in automotive analogies, so if you find that sort of thing amusing, click over to read about why Oregon truffles remind me of Corvettes, along with a great recipe for wild mushroom risotto with Oregon white truffle oil.
I've got a few tasks ahead of me: make plane reservations, buy some rain (mud) boots for the foraging, and figure out which of my truffle recipes I want to enter in the One Big Truffle Recipe Contest. Original recipes featuring black or white Oregon truffles? I've got a dozen to choose from. The weekend is inspired by One Big Table: A Portrait of American Cooking, a huge collection of home cooks' recipes by former New York Times food writer and James Beard award winner Molly O'Neill. The judges will choose three finalists from the recipe contest submissions, and those dishes will be served as part of the gala dinner, with the winner chosen by the participants.
|Trained dogs sniff out the truffles (Photo: Oregon Truffle Festival)|
[On a side note, I was actually interviewed for One Big Table a few years back - someone on O'Neill's staff found my French lentil salad recipe and liked the romantic story attached. It didn't make the book's final cut, which disappoints me to this day.]
If you want to enter the contest (Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious, I'm looking at you), whip up your best truffle concoction and send it on in. (Read the rules before you submit - there are a few details there about ingredients and such.) All three finalists will get to attend the festival gala dinner to see their creations in action, and the winning recipe will be included in O'Neill's ongoing One Big Table project. A second chance to make it into One Big Table - my fingers are crossed....
So which truffle recipe do you think I should enter in the contest? My shortlist:
- Truffled pork and shrimp shu mai
- Truffle-infused chocolate truffles
- Crepes with truffled duck confit (haven't gotten around to writing up this recipe yet, but it was a huge hit at this summer's third annual Trufflepalooza party)
- Pacific rockfish "brandade" with truffles in cucumber cups
- Truffled twice-baked baby potatoes