Truffle oil is a modern culinary ingredient, used to impart the flavor and aroma of truffles to a dish.
Most truffle oils are not made from actual truffles, but are a synthetic product that combines a thioether (2,4-dithiapentane), one of numerous aromas or odorants found in truffles, with an olive oil or grapeseed oil base. As with pure olive oils, these range from clear to cloudy, and yellow to green.
Truffle oil is commonly used to make "truffle fries," which feature French fries tossed in truffle oil, Parmesan cheese, pepper, and sometimes other ingredients. Some pasta dishes and whipped dishes such as mashed potatoes or deviled eggs incorporate truffle oil.
Truffle oil, available in all seasons and steady in price, is popular with chefs (and some diners) because it is much less expensive than actual truffles, while possessing some of the same flavors and aroma. The emergence and growth of truffle oil has led to an increase in the availability of foods claiming to be made with or flavored with truffles, in an era when the price of truffles has pushed them out of reach for most diners. Real truffle oil (which contains actual truffle, and more truffle than oil instead of the other way around) can go for $90 an ounce.
Black truffles are best used for cooking / heated applications. White truffles are best used for cold / fresh applications.
Opinions of Chefs
- "In the Kitchen: Ingredients - Truffle Oil", Bon Appetit.
- Koenig, Leah (March 10, 2009), "Truffle Oil", Saveur.
- Patterson, Daniel (May 16, 2007), "Hocus-Pocus, and a Beaker of Truffles", The New York Times.
- "Chef Ramsay calling truffle oil a chef's delight".
- Rene Lynch (June 7, 2011). "Chef Gordon Ramsay on the one ingredient you should NOT have in your pantry". Daily Dish. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
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