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White Oregon Truffles
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The Oregon Winter White truffle is roughly round with a dirty stone colored surface that becomes darker brown with age. It is smooth but furrowed and its translucent flesh is pale grey, marbled with white veins. The White truffle has complex flavors of garlic, spices and ripe cheese when mature. Its aromatics are reminiscent of its terroir, with fragrances of musk, cedar and nutmeg. Oregon white truffles range in sizes from a peanut to a walnut.
Oregon White truffles season are available in winter through early spring.
The uncommon and undervalued, Oregon White truffle, Tuber oregonense, is a cousin to the Black truffles of Périgord and White truffles of Alba. Fungi grow in a symbiotic relationship with tree roots, giving trees vital nutrition for survival. This is known as mycorrhizae. It takes a skilled harvester to smell and locate a mature truffle. Squirrels and mice eat truffles, thus signs of dug up ground is a good indicator that truffles are near. The true professional truffle harvesters only use trained dogs as they leave a smaller footprint, resulting in healthier, unharmed forests and higher quality truffles.
Oregon White truffles quickly lose their aroma when heated. Use white truffles as a finishing element to a dish, thinly shaved over pastas, cooked eggs, pureed soups and risottos. Oregon White truffles pair well with leeks, garlic, fresh soft cheeses and aged hard cheeses, lobster, crab, flaky white fish, butter, cream, chicken, potatoes, winter squashes, bacon, light-bodied vinegars and herbs such as tarragon, basil and chervil. Oregon White truffles are highly perishable, so use them immediately or with 2-3 days of purchasing.
James Beard tasted the Oregon truffles in 1983 and said that they were as good as truffles from Piedmont.
The Oregon White truffle is the first and only White truffle variety ever to be found both growing wild and cultivated. The truffles grow beneath the soil's surface on young, dense, low elevation truffle plantations near Douglas Fir trees. The native North American truffles are harvested from Douglas Fir woodlands throughout the Pacific Northwest. Their production depends upon the quality, temperature and moisture of the tree roots and soil that they grow in. Domesticated truffle plantations in Oregon owe their success to Frenchman, Gérard Chevalier, who first inoculated tree saplings with microscopic truffles in a lab in the 1970's. These saplings can be transplanted in truffle-inducing forest habitats.
Recipes that include White Oregon Truffles. One is easiest, three is harder.
|In Erika's Kitchen||Scrambled eggs with Oregon white truffles|
|French Laundry at Home||Potato Chips with Truffle Dip|
|One Perfect Bite||Truffled Mac n' Cheese|