A truffle, or "truffle" as it's more commonly known, is a round spherical seed of a perennial tree of the genera Cappuccio or Pterocarpus. A truffle contains a single seed coated by a slightly gritty substance. The term "truffle" comes from the French word truffle (in French, it's referred to as "pied de place") and the Italian word truce. In order for a truffle to be considered a truffle, it must contain at least one seed that has not been bruised or "sucked dry".
Truffles are a delicacy often consumed with pizza, pasta, in breads, or used in cooking. There are many varieties of truffle available, depending on their preparation and seasonings. Generally speaking, they are sold as a salty alternative to their fresh mushroom counterparts, though some specialty varieties like the "black truffle sea salt" are highly cultivated and sell for high prices even in Europe. Many people enjoy eating truffles, but not many can say they've ever tasted real, live truffles.
One of the most common ways to cook with truffle salt is to use it as an ingredient for sprinkling on top of baked potatoes, or sliced tomatoes. It adds an authentic truffle flavor to baked potatoes or tomatoes, without the need to use real butter or vegetable oil. This is why it's often sold in little packets with a ribbon of sprinkles attached. Sprinkle the dusting on just before you add them to the dish and your baked potato or tomato will have that authentic truffle flavor just like the ones you buy in France.
Another way to use truffle salt is in the preparation of cold salads. Although truffle salt isn't an authentic Italian dressing, it works well with tomato, cheese, or lemon flavors to create a unique flavor that is different from traditional salad dressing. It's also a great way to add that final touch to a salad. Simply mix it with olive oil and you'll have a light, fresh salad that you can sit at the table to eat while watching your favorite TV program. If you don't like the idea of having a salad while watching TV, just remember what flavor you added that might be good enough to disguise the taste of salad dressing.
In addition, truffle salt and truffle oil go well together. They are especially good together when you have an Italian summer flair to your menu. You can use olive oil in the same way that you do truffle salt. Just mix olive oil with a little bit of sea salt, let the mixture cool, then use it to cook pasta, fish, or chicken. You can also use truffle oil to cook rice. Truffle oil is also good with vegetable dishes that need a little bit of additional flavor, such as zucchini.
One of the most popular uses for truffle salt and truffle oil is in black summer truffles. Truffles tend to go well with any kind of seafood, but truffle oil goes especially well with truffles that are made with chanterelle mushrooms. The spices in the chanterelle mushroom mixture to provide a nice nutty flavor that is almost minty. This makes black summer truffles a very easy dish to prepare, and it is one that people will often ask for at meals.
In order for your black truffles to come out correctly, however, you need to make sure that you keep them in a cool dark place, away from direct sunlight and intense heat. Also, keep in mind that while you want your truffles to come out perfect, they should be kept in their original container wrapped in foil and air tight. If you let them sit in the sun, the truffles will dry out and lose their aroma. If you store your truffles in the original containers they were shipped in, they will last much longer. If you decide not to buy a bunch of fresh truffles this summer, you can always freeze your stock for later use.
While there are many potential benefits to truffle salt, keep in mind that just about everyone has probably eaten a piece that could pass for a truffle. The only reason they aren't on the menu more often is because they don't taste very good. As soon as you get a whiff of it, though, your taste buds will immediately alert you to its delicious flavor. So next time you head for the grocery store, look for truffle salt. You'll be glad you did!