All Truffled Up

We have, in past posts, sang the praises of Borough Market. We feel extremely fortunate to live so close to this amazing grouping of traders who not only sell great fare but are also well informed about their products and willingly share their knowledge. Saturday mornings have become market days for us, where we go and look around, making the weekly grocery shopping.

On one of our earlier visits to Borough Market, a small stall caught our eye. A small crowd of people was gathered in front of Tartufaia Truffles, taking a whiff of the delicious aroma. We immediately decided that we would one day purchase a truffle and use it in a homemade meal.

It took us a few months to bring ourselves to actually execute our plan. For starters, the move to London has taken longer than expected to be finalized. And secondly, truffles are expensive so we needed to carefully plan what we were going to make and ensure that we had enough time to make the dish.

Finally, last Saturday we went to the stall and bought our truffle. At just under £15, it’s a very pricey condiment, and we’re surely not going to make a habit of eating truffles. But it was also quite large, more than enough for the two of us.

The truffle, just before we started cleaning it.

The truffle, just before we started cleaning it.

The lady opened a large jar of truffles and invited us to choose the one we wanted. We did and she then checked to make sure it was still good. She cut a little piece of the outer part (the skin?) and smelled it, then wrapped it in tissue paper and off we went. Summer truffles, she explained, are less pungent than their winter sisters, and therefore suggested to use it with an otherwise lightly flavored dish. The quicker you use a truffle, the better, we were told. We were planning to use it the following day. She also advised us to clean it gently with a brush. We found an unused soft toothbrush and brushed it with tepid water until all the soil was gone, then patted it dry with a paper towel.

While the morel pasta sauce was simmering, we started to shave the truffle. On Saturday, during a trip to Portobello Market, we kept our eyes open for a truffle shaver. We didn’t find one, so we stopped by Selfridges. We did find a Rosle Gourmet Slicer, but one of us balked at the price tag so we passed. We did find it on Amazon for quite a bit less, and it arrived yesterday, unfortunately a day too late for our first truffle experiment.

This is what the slicer looks like. It worked perfectly on hard cheese.

This is what the slicer looks like. It worked perfectly on hard cheese.

So instead we used our trustworthy mandoline.

Our mandoline slicer.

Our mandoline slicer.

Ideally, you can shave the truffles straight on your dish, but since this was an experiment, and the mandoline is a little bulky and we were skeptical about its blades’ sharpness (we do use it a lot to slice vegetables for salads) we shaved the truffles on a paper towel and then moved them to a plate, while waiting for the pasta to be finalized.

That's a healthy portion.

That’s a healthy portion.

The slices might have been slightly on the thick side, and we look forward to use our new slicer next time, but they more than worked. Anyone who doesn’t have a mandoline can probably get the same result with a sharp knife, although it might take some time and patience. Or use a razor blade, like Paulie in Goodfellas!

All in all, this was a great first run, and we look forward to doing the same with the more flavorful winter truffles in a few months!

Now, that's a meal!

Now, that’s a meal!

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