As someone who truly loves food, I draw inspiration from everywhere including music. Currently, there is a hip hop song on the radio that references truffle butter. Basically, just shouting out another one of those luxury items that us regular folks don’t really think about. Then, I began to think. Truffle butter isn’t a thousand dollar bottle of Champagne or a restaurant with a 2 year waiting list. With very little effort, we can enjoy this luxury at home…right?
Let’s back up a bit. What is truffle butter? Well, it is simply butter that has been infused with the garlicky goodness of truffles. What makes it seem so elite and unattainable are the truffles themselves. The underground fungus is really expensive. On Eataly.com, 1 ounce of fresh black winter truffles go for $95 for the first ounce. The specially trained pigs and dogs traditionally used to track down these treasures probably don’t help with that price point.
Don’t close the window yet! There is a way to harness the flavor of truffle at a more reasonable price. Manufacturers have produced many items like salts, pastes, and oils to give you the essence of truffle. I was able to find a black truffle oil at a neighborhood grocery store. The primary ingredient is extra virgin olive oil. Black truffle aroma was added along with actual black truffles. The bottle wasn’t even 2 ounces, and it set me back $12.99 before tax. It even includes a small speck of truffle at the bottom of the bottle. How nice!
The truffle butter is pretty simple. Butter, black truffle oil, and salt. With that being said, don’t get cheap when it comes to the butter and salt. Splurge a little and track down a higher fat butter-anything over the standard 80% milk fat. It may be worth going to a specialty store with a team that can point out the good stuff. It’s worth it. You’ll get better texture and more flavor. I went with a European-style butter with 82% fat. Note my definition of “splurge“. I spent $3.69 before tax for the butter used here. Oh, because we are adding salt, be sure to choose an unsalted butter, so you have more control over the final product.
Go for Kosher salt. I think I have been brainwashed by my chef mentors of the past. I only stock my kitchen with course Kosher salt. When I need a finer grind for something, like popcorn or baking, I’ll quickly mill some down with a mortar and pestle. That’s what I did for the truffle butter. You get a better, cleaner flavor from the Kosher version, so that’s what I’m selling!
Black Truffle Butter
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Yield: About 1 cup
1 cup, or 8 ounces, butter, softened
1 tablespoon black truffle oil
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt, finely ground
Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a hand mixer until well distributed.
Simple, right? Now, what do you do with it? I used a pastry bag to divvy up the butter in 4 ramekins. Now, I can pull some out as needed while maintaining a somewhat fancier presentation. Wrap the butter well so no other fridge smells get absorbed in the truffle butter. Remember, truffles are pretty potent, so the reverse is true, too.
Truffle butter works in the same applications in which one might use regular butter. Spread it on freshly baked bread, place it under the skin of turkey or chicken before roasting, add a pop of flavor to vegetables, or top off a perfectly cooked filet…wink.
Ashley E. Cummings is a classically trained culinarian and hospitality professional who makes it her mission to explore every facet of food from nutrition to execution and how it can impact overall well-being. Ashley is the managing principal of AEC Culinary Research Solutions, LLC, a consulting agency dedicated to recipe development and culinary research in the food industry. Check out her blog, My Pursuit of Everything Culinary, to uncover everything from lessons learned from failed kitchen experiments to random food holidays.