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Do You Know Nutrition: Understanding what truffle oil is all about

By By Phylis Canion
July 30, 2013 at 2:30 a.m.


I recently read a recipe that called for truffle oil. Obviously, there is such a thing, but I am not familiar with it. Can you please explain the benefits of truffles and truffle oil?

Truffles are expensive fungi, mushrooms, that do not have stems and are usually discovered underground beneath oak, pine, beech and pecan trees. Truffles are primarily used only in the culinary field as the main ingredient in various dishes and as flavorings to specialty dishes.

Truffles are high in protein, are a moderate source of carbohydrates, are low in fat and are cholesterol-free. The better truffle oils are made from real truffles and extra virgin olive oil.

Although it contains extra virgin olive oil, truffle oil is finishing oil, therefore cooking with it is not recommended because the heat will cause the oil to lose its essence.

Using truffle oil more than 250 degrees will burn the truffle flavor out completely. (Actually, heating extra virgin olive oil will do the same, that is why it is not recommended for heating. It is only designed for salads).

Some suggestions for truffle oil is to drizzle it over your grilled tuna steak or salmon, your filet mignon, your pizza or any pasta dishes for a scrumptious taste. Also, it is important to know that there is a black truffle oil and a white truffle oil. Black truffles grow underground in a symbiotic relationship with the roots of certain trees, as mentioned above.

Black truffles have the strongest flavor of all truffles and a pungent smell. This smell is so strong that if stored with eggs, the smell will permeate the egg shell and will completely change the taste of the egg. The black truffle oil is stronger and has a more earthy smell.

White truffles, on the other hand, have a tendency to take on the characteristics of the soil they are found in. Therefore they have a more delicate taste and a garlic-like aroma.

Black truffle oil is an excellent choice with meats, sauces and casseroles whereas white truffle oil is best with eggs, pastas with cheese and dishes where it can be added after cooking.

Thought for the week: We are digging our graves with our own teeth - A quote by Thomas Moffett that I quote daily.

Next cooking class is 5:30 p.m. Aug. 7 at The Cooking Depot in Cuero.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, email her at doc.phyl@yahoo.com. This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.

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