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Summer black truffle taste profile and pairing suggestions

Summer black truffles are at the height of the season!  This article addresses how to enjoy summer truffles to the fullest.

The most important thing to remember when using black summer truffles in recipes is that these truffles are NOT the same as winter black truffles or winter white truffles.  Summer truffles have a much milder aroma and are more mushroomy in taste than their sought after cousins.  It will rarely work well to substitute summer truffles for winter black truffles, particularly if the preparation requires cooking.

Winter black truffles are best when cooked.  The cooking process releases the wonderfully intense truffle flavor and aroma.  Summer truffles are so delicate in flavor that they will lose much of their taste if cooked; therefore the most important rule with summer truffles is to serve them raw or only slightly warmed.

On the exterior, summer truffles look very similar to winter black truffles as both varieties have a dark, almost black exterior skin.  The inside of summer truffles is beige, where winter truffles are dark charcoal to black inside (when ripe).

Summer Black Truffles

Summer Black Truffles

Summer truffles have a delicate nutty flavor and a slightly crisp texture.  Because the flavor of summer truffles is fairly mild, pairing them with other foods is easy.  Summer truffles offer an economical way to boost almost any seasonal menu.

One of the easiest ways to incorporate summer truffles into existing recipes is to simply add them to your favorite salad.  Summer truffles pair well with all summer vegetables: baby greens of any type, asparagus, green beans, fava beans, corn artichoke, fennel, onions, leeks and more. For salad preparations, about one ounce of summer truffle per person is a good rule of thumb.  To intensify the truffle flavor, use a black truffle oil vinaigrette.  If you wish to have a one-dish-meal, top the truffle laced salad with a piece of grilled halibut, sole, salmon, or other fresh fish.

Summer black truffles can be added raw, at the last minute to soups, potato dishes, risotto, eggs, and pasta dishes.  Simply shave a generous portion of summer truffle on top of the dish or incorporate the truffles into the dish just before serving.  Just remember not to expect the same intense flavor as you would enjoy with winter black truffles or white truffles.

In terms of pairing summer truffles with meats and fish, there are endless choices.  Generally lighter meats and almost any fish or shellfish work well with summer truffles.  Choose meats such as veal, pork, or poultry, beef carpaccio, or use cured meats as an accent to a vegetable, potato, or pasta dish.  Recommended seafood selections include scallops, lobster, langoustines, or almost any type of fish such as halibut, cod, sole, snapper, skate wings, monkfish, or even salmon.

Pairing wine with truffles is simply a matter of personal taste.  Certainly any wine originated from a truffle producing area would be a good choice.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of summer truffles is the affordable price.  At a fraction of the cost of winter black truffles or white truffles, one can be generous with summer truffles, adding them to a wide variety of seasonal recipes with pleasing results.

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