When it comes to recipes with truffles, less is definitely more.
The backdrop needs to be simple. Uncluttered. Bland background flavors support the truffle aroma and flavor without overwhelming or interfering. That's why traditional French and Italian truffle recipes are often based on eggs, potatoes, pasta, rice, cream, fresh cheeses.
I am, by nature, a "less is more" kind of cook. Maybe I like truffles so much because what you do underneath them needs to be simple. It's a built-in excuse to be lazy.
One of the simplest and most popular of the 20 dishes served at Trufflepalooza 2012 was this truffle-infused Brie cheese. A few days before Trufflepalooza, I split the cheese horizontally, inserted a layer of grated fresh truffle (along with a few drops of truffle oil and a light sprinkle of truffle salt), and wrapped the cheese tightly in plastic wrap. By the day of the feast, the musky truffle aroma had permeated the cheese completely.
To serve, we sliced the cheese and laid it on toasted slivers of ciabatta with a thin piece of Flavor Queen pluot, then drizzled truffle honey on top. Crisp toast, creamy Brie, tangy fruit, dusky truffles, sweet honey - the combination was simple but perfectly balanced. These truffled Brie bites were a perfect transition between the savory dishes and the three truffle-laced desserts at Trufflepalooza and can play a starring role at any party.
Note: If you can't get fresh truffles, canned ones should work just as well here. My favorite truffle products are made by Sabatino Tartufi; look for them at specialty food stores or order them online from Sabatino's website.
Brie infused with truffles and truffle honey
Crisp toast, creamy cheese, dusky truffles, tangy pluot, sweet honey - these truffled Brie toasts offer the perfect balance of flavors. Allow at least 1 day of refrigeration time for the truffle to penetrate the cheese. Feel free to substitute nectarine or peach for the pluot, but make sure the fruit isn't too soft.
- 1/2 pound Brie cheese, ripe but still somewhat firm (choose 1 intact triangle or small round)
- 1 small black summer truffle, fresh or canned
- 1/4 tsp truffle oil
- pinch of truffle salt
- 20 thin slices ciabatta or baguette
- 2 firm pluots, nectarines or peaches, sweet but not too soft
- approximately 2 tsp truffle honey
Put the Brie on a cutting board. With a large sharp knife, split the cheese horizontally and lay the two pieces on the board cut-side up. Finely grate the truffle over one half of the cheese, covering the surface (you will have truffle left over for another dish, you lucky duck). Sprinkle on the truffle oil and a pinch of truffle salt. Now put the other half of the cheese back on top so the truffle stuff is sandwiched between the two layers of cheese. Wrap the whole thing tightly in several layers of plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 24 hours and up to 3 days to let the truffle aroma and flavor permeate the cheese.To serve, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast in the oven about 10 minutes, until the bread is dry, crisp and starting to brown around the edges. Let cool.Slice the pluots into very thin half-moons, mimicking the shape of the bread as closely as you can. Lay a slice of pluot (or a few slices if you prefer) on each piece of toast. Cut 20 slices of cheese about the same size as the toast and lay them on top of the pluot. Drizzle truffle honey lightly over the top of each Brie toast and serve.
DetailsPrep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: about 20 pieces
Disclosure: Sabatino kindly provided all the fresh truffles and truffle products for this year's Trufflepalooza, but I don't get any commissions or kickbacks on sales of their products through the links above - I'm just recommending what I like to use myself.