Here at BLACKBARN, we’re celebrating black truffles this month with a specially curated menu created by our very own Chef John Doherty and Chef Matteo Bergamini. Like this months Chef’s Table where we’re serving our Seared Diver Scallops with celery root ribbons, black truffle, and sunchokes emulsion.
You may wonder → when are they in season? Black truffle season generally goes from mid-November to early March. Right now they’re early in the peak season, which means they are fragrant, tasteful and in high demand. As the Summers in Europe become hotter and hotter, black truffles become more scarce while more people are eating them than ever before.
But what are black truffles → black truffle goes by many names including Tuber melanosporum, Périgord truffle, or more common the French black truffle. These fragrant little beauties are the most precious and expensive of all the black truffles in the world. Hence, they are referred to as the “black diamond” of the kitchen.
While white truffles are in season from early November through late fall — those generally come from Alba, Italy. And it’s a very different product. It must be shaved raw and they are very fragrant, mild in flavor, and if they’re cooked or frozen or even preserved — their pungent aroma is destroyed. Black truffles on the other hand, can be preserved well through flash freezing, jarred or canned for later use. However, much of their flavor is lost in the juice which is often used for other products.
Black winter truffles are not to be confused with black summer truffles. By comparison, the summer truffle has a very delicate flavor and aroma profiles. These beauties, John Doherty suggests, are best shaved raw over risotto or salads. As cooking will diminish the little flavor that they have. Périgord winter truffles are best when cooked because the heating process releases the coveted truffle flavor.
We asked our chefs, John Doherty and Matteo Bergamini, which their favorite black truffle dish from the Chef’s Table is. This is what they had to say:
Something I like to make often at home are scrambled eggs in brown butter, crispy bacon with shaved asiago on top of toast. Every time I eat it, I say to myself ‘this would be amazing with truffles. You can find it on our January Chef’s Table experience.
— Chef John Doherty
Chef John Doherty even shares his favorite recipe with us. See our Chef’s Table menu below and click on the image to be directed to our site for reservations.
Recipe: Scramble Duck Egg, Shaved Truffles, Pancetta, Watercress, and Gruyere Toast ↓
(This recipe serves 4)
What You’ll Need:
1 oz. sliced Pancetta, cut in ½” pieces
½ cup Heavy Cream
1 Tbsp. Black Winter Truffles, chopped
3 Duck eggs or 4 Chicken Eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. salted butter
4 slices toasted Brioche
1 cup watercress
2 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
In a 1qt. sauce pot over medium heat, reduce cream, truffles and salt by half and add to beaten eggs. In an 8” skillet over medium heat, cook pancetta until crispy and reserve on the side. Return skillet over medium heat and add butter and 1 tsp. of reserved pancetta fat. Once butter is foaming, add beaten egg and truffle mixture and stir until mostly cooked and creamy with small lumps. Spoon eggs over toast. Toss watercress and crispy pancetta in olive oil and place on top of eggs. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
My favorite dish off the Chef’s Table menu is the Artichoke Barigoule, with mache salad, and black truffle vinaigrette. Artichoke and black truffles are a great pairing. I like to make this dish because you can use the artichoke in different ways to bring variety of texture — braised, fried, and shaved raw. The dish has mache lettuce (in Italian it’s called Valeriana) which are like baby lettuce with a mild grassy flavor. It goes well accompanied with roasted or braised vegetables. This dish will have both shaved black truffles and ones cooked in the vinaigrette that is shallots, truffle juice, and sherry vinegar.
— Chef Matteo Bergamini