Truffle oil is incredible, but it gets a bad rap as the commercial variety is overused and too strong. Here I'll tell you everything you need to know about making homemade truffle oil like chefs do. It's easy, but there's a few very important things to know to prevent an expensive mistake.
How to Make Truffle Oil
Fresh truffle oil includes only 3 ingredients: fresh black or white truffles, neutral flavored oil, and salt. The most important are the oil and the truffles. The truffles must be very fresh, and the oil cannot have a strong flavor and aroma of its own.
To make it, all you need to do is mix sliced or chopped fresh truffle with salt in a jar, then add oil. The salt is important as it helps prevent botulism and extends the shelf life. While contamination is highly unlikely, as truffle oil often sits for months in a refrigerator it's an important step to remember.
After the pieces of truffle are mixed with the salt and oil, the jar is placed in the refrigerator. Over the course of a few days, the delicate truffle aroma will increase. After about two weeks it will be ready to use.
- Do not be tempted to use high quality olive oil like extra virgin, the flavor is too strong and will overpower your truffles.
- Choose a neutral flavored oil such as grapeseed, avocado, or light olive oil.
- Do not heat the oil to infuse it with truffle flavor. Heat destroys the truffle aroma and will amount to a waste of truffle.
- After two weeks, I like to eat the truffles in the jar.
- Truffle essence is a synthetic compound and should not be used.
- Storing in a cool dark place isn't good enough-the oil must be refrigerated for safety.
- Homemade truffle oil tastes milder than commercial varieties, which isn't a bad thing.
- Finding truffles can be difficult. I recommend buying from West Coast Wild Foods, or Trufflecart.com in the United States.
How to Use Truffle Oil
Homemade truffle oil is very different than white or black truffle oil from a store. Commercial truffle oil is very strong, and can withstand cooking, homemade truffle oil cannot. Taking that into account, know that you can put truffle oil on just about anything, be it should be drizzled on food at the end of cooking, or added at the last minute. Here's some examples of great things to do with it.
- Drizzle it on potato soup or mushroom soup.
- Spooned over grilled steak, fish, chicken or pork.
- Toss it with popcorn, fried or roasted potatoes.
- Use it to marinade sauteed mushrooms.
- Drizzle into or onto creamy pastas at the last minute.
- Drizzled over lobster and crab, or dip them in it.
- Use it in mayonnaise and aioli.
- Tossed with steamed broccoli or other steamed vegetables.
- Toss warm roasted root vegetables or beets with truffle oil to taste.
- Drizzled on vanilla ice cream, or truffle ice cream.
How To Make Truffle Oil
- 1 Pint mason jar
- 1 gram food scale A smaller scale will help you be more precise
- 2 cups mild-flavored oil light light olive oil
- ½-1 oz fresh black winter truffle or summer truffle Use more of cheaper truffles, and less of expensive ones.
- ¼-3/4 teaspoon fine salt do not omit for safety
- Slice the truffles ⅛th thick and weigh out 14-24 grams. Sprinkle half the salt in the bottom of the jar. Add the truffle slices and sprinkle the remaining salt on top.
- Put the lid on the jar and allow to sit for 10 minutes, mix them around gently to distribute the salt.
- Add the oil, top with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate. After two weeks the truffle aroma will have infused, but it can be used after a week if you like the flavor. The oil will keep for months in the fridge, and should always be refrigerated.
Cheap trufflesTruffles are expensive, but you can save money with the type of black truffle you buy. Tuber melanosporum, the black winter truffle is the most expensive. Summer truffles (Tuber aestivum) and musky truffles (tuber brumale) are cheaper (up to half the price). You can also get deals on more expensive truffles if you buy B or C grade truffles.
Infusing the oil without truffles in itYou can also infuse oil with truffle flavor by putting a screw in the cap of a mason jar, and screwing the truffle onto it, then closing the jar filled with oil not coming up far enough to touch the truffle. Cheesecloth can also be used. This won't make as strong of an infusion as sliced truffles, but it's cheaper.
If bought truffle oil from a store, start with ½-1 teaspoon per person. If you use homemade truffle oil which is milder, you can add up to 1 tablespoon per person.
After the steak is rested and ready to serve, drizzle each serving with ½ teaspoon truffle oil. If you use homemade truffle oil, you can use more.
Truffle oil should be added at the end of cooking. When the pasta is ready to serve, quickly toss or stir in ½ teaspoon truffle oil per person.
If you're using purchased truffle oil, like white truffle oil, toss your popcorn with ½ teaspoon per serving after it's cooked. If you use homemade truffle oil you can add more. Add it until you like the flavor, and don't add too much.
When the fries come out of the deep fryer, drain them well, then toss each order with ½-1 teaspoon truffle oil. Using too much truffle oil can interfere with other diners, especially those drinking expensive wines.