Making truffle butter is the best way to preserve a white truffle before it loses its freshness. It is laughably easy and should only take a few minutes.
Get your ingredients and your equipment together. You will need white truffle, great quality butter (room temperature is easier) and some fancy sea salt if you like things salty. The ratio of truffle to butter is up to you but certainly no less than 1:10 ( 10 grams truffle to 100 grams of butter). However you can add as much truffle as you want. Hunters often end up with truffles that are not restaurant quality so we usually make very strong truffle butter with equal weights of both ingredients. Your tools are a large bowl, a grater or truffle slicer if you have one and a fork for mashing. Find yourself some container for your butter. Plastic pots are ideal for freezing, fancy glass jars for presents and cling film (saran wrap) is fine if you intend to store the butter in the fridge.
Clean the truffle under cold running water using a soft brush or cloth to remove any soil. Remember that truffles should only ever be washed immediately before they are served. There’s a reason that truffles look slightly dirty. Obviously big chunks of earth are unacceptable but there should be a thin film of earth residue on the truffle. This helps to prevent it from losing its aroma and hence stay fresher for longer.
Dry the truffle on a paper towel. Then, using one of the larger holes grate the truffle into your bowl. If, like I invariably do, you forget to take your butter out of the fridge, don’t worry you can grate that too.
If the butter is room temperature, you can start mashing it into your truffle with a fork. Can you mash the butter first and then add the truffle? Absolutely. Just make sure to mash it well so butter and truffle are perfectly blended . The mixture should be a pleasing beige colour, even in tone with no buttery lumps.
Add salt to taste but avoid adding herbs or garlic or any other ingredient that will compete with the truffle. Keep it simple as these three ingredients are a sublime combination. Who doesn’t love buttery butter ? It is the perfect creamy vehicle to carry all the complex scents of the white truffle so don’t get fancy.
Put the finished butter into your container of choice. Plastic lidded pots are great for freezing and will last around 6 months. If you want to store the truffle butter in cling film, shape it into a sausage and wrap it up, twisting the ends so there is no exposure to air. You can keep that in the fridge for about a month, slicing off rounds to serve on top of steak, eggs, risotto, pasta. Even on bread. There are only two guidelines
- Don’t cook the truffle butter. For example, you can put a knob of butter on top of a finished omelette but you wouldn’t fry the omelette in truffle butter. Unless you were prepared to sacrifice a lot of flavour.
- By all means experiment, but keep it simple and top quality. Nothing in your dish should overpower the truffle and nothing should shame the truffle. White truffles ride along well with all things creamy from scrambled eggs to mashed potato. They also taste amazing with steak and chips.
And that’s it. Bon appetit and I hope you all get the chance to enjoy at least one really memorable meal with white truffle this autumn. And ‘in bocca al lupo’ to all white truffle hunters about to start the season, but especially to my husband Giovanni, son Giorgino and our daughter Sophia who is still at school but hunts at the weekend.