About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Truffle Sauce
My first ever experience with truffles was back in the 90's at the now defunct Paul Bocuse restaurant at the equally defunct Daimaru store; happily though, the chef at that time, Philippe Mouchel, survived and is still wowing diners at his semi eponymous restaurant, the brasserie by Philippe Mouchel.

Mouchel devised a degustation menu of Perigord truffles that was designed to show off the truffles' remarkable affinity with many different foods and included the celebrated signature dish of Paul Bocuse himself, truffle soup, that came to the table with a covering of puff pastry which was punctured by the diner, releasing the heady perfume of truffles. Pure theatre.

However, the dish I remember best was perhaps the simplest. A slit was cut into the side of a scallop and a piece of truffle inserted, the scallop was then quickly pan fried. There may have been more garnishes to the dish, but I simply don't recall them, everything else was obliterated by the rapture produced from this divinely artful combination.

This night was also the only time I've ever been paralysed by a choice from the menu. It was a degustation, but for the final savoury course there was a choice of truffled brandade of cod or eye fillet that was studded with truffles. There was just no way to choose, it was impossible, both sounded so heavenly that one angel would have cried tears for having been left out, so, forsaking all responsibility in the matter, I left it in Mouchel's hands to decide, who obviously felt the same dilemma, as a short time later, both courses arrived.

It was simply the best meal of my life and remains so to this day. I was invited in to the kitchen that night, but it was as if I'd witnessed the greatest magic act of all time and didn't want the spell to be broken by knowing how it had been pulled off, a decision I came to regret later, but at that moment, I was under the influence of the amazing and mysterious truffle.

Just so you, dear reader, never have to face up to having to choose between different, but equally as good dishes, here is a recipe for truffle and maderia sauce, which you can pour over everything.

Truffle and Maderia Sauce
(adapted from French Country Cooking)

50g butter
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
10g dried porcini, soaked
600ml chicken stock
100ml top quality maderia
30 to 100g fresh truffles, whatever you can afford
salt and fresh ground pepper

Melt half the butter in a saucepan, add the shallots and sweat for two minutes, then add the porcini, reserving their soaking water, and sweat for a minute more. Add the chicken stock and soaking water, bring to the boil, then simmer until reduced by about half, then pour in the maderia and simmer for five more minutes, pass through a sieve, pressing on the solids and keep hot. Either dice the truffle finely or slice into fine rings on a truffle slicer. Melt the rest of the butter in a pan, add the truffles and gently sweat for two or three minutes, then tip the truffles into the sauce and season to taste. Cover the pan and leave to infuse for several minutes off the heat. Serve.

Notes: Veal stock can be used instead of chicken. It is worth finding genuine (Portuguese), medium dry maderia, the one I used was labeled rainwater, but there are other different names for the levels of sweetness. Maderia has a special affinity with truffles, but you can use a dry white wine instead. If fresh truffles are out of your price range, dried morels will work too, perhaps 25 to 50g.
 
  posted at 7:35 am
  6 comments



6 Comments:
At 9:44 am, Anonymous kitchen hand said...

I visited Daimaru once. I found my way out three days later. The worst building design ever.

(However, towards the end I frequently enjoyed okonomiyaki for lunch at the sushi bar at the entrance. You didn't have to venture too far in.)

 
At 12:46 pm, Blogger Ran said...

i am so jealous of all these truffles. I think my husband would divorce me if I bought some though...

 
At 2:14 pm, Blogger Thermomixer said...

Nice work again Neil. Memories of Bocuse - sad day when it closed in Nov 97. You should have checked out the kitchen - it was tiny, but yes lots of magic. Did they have truffle souffle and truffle ice cream for dessert?

A little truffle goes a long way Ran. They don't keep long but if you put them in a container with some rice and eggs then the aroma permeates these and extends the amount of flavour you can derive. Worth the effort.

I'll bring the wine - need to check which one Tim Pak Poy reduced to produce truffle aromas.

 
At 2:49 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi kh, at least you wouldn't have starved if you found the food hall, they had some great produce there. S'pose after 3 days you would never want to hear Waltzing Matilda again. Okonomiyaki, is that what those things were called. I had one and did enjoy it, not too sure about the sauce on top though, kinda sweet.

Hi ran, you gotta do what you gotta do. Fortunately, my wife does like them.

Hi thermomixer, I didn't use the last part of the story, fearing looking like a piker. It was the truffle icecream, but by the time I'd had the extra course, there simply wasn't any more room to fit it in. Table's set.

 
At 2:10 am, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Twice I'm going over the top here Neil.
1. Pure theatre truffle with puff pastry - now I worry I'll die before I enjoy that!
2. I'm paralysed by a choice from the menu just thinking about these two.
and then well
3. I don't have any truffles . . . or hope to either at this point.

 
At 9:46 pm, Blogger Squishy said...

That sauce sounds wonderful. Try and get fresh truffles up here in NQ, impossible. I have seen some in jars, do you know if they are good?

 

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