As winter gives way to sunny hints of spring, and classes not yet in full swing, we are engaged in passions of the heart. Giuseppe is approaching his final Sommelier exam in a few weeks, and Liz is starting the 6 month long process of studying to sit for the Italian Driver License.
When studies fatigue us, its time to get outside! Our little Brussels Griffon; Luigi (aka Gigi) provides the perfect distraction and motivation. For a year now Luigi has become an A+ student in hunting for truffles. We started originally in the house, hiding bits of fresh truffles in drawers, behind curtains, under rugs. He became so clever, he could find them in under 30 seconds. When he became proficient enough, we moved the exercise outdoors, and now on a sunny day you can find us in the Lucca willy-wacks hiding and finding truffles with Luigi. The game goes on for well over an hour as we bury and hide the truffle pieces in a classic stainless steel "tea leaf ball" (otherwise he promptly eats whatever he finds!). The reward for finding (and now digging up ) the truffle ball is fresh blueberries. Its a great way to spend an afternoon in the countryside.
Giuseppe has included a decadent recipe for breakfast below.
Now, we eagerly await the day when Luigi surprises us with an impromptu discovery of his first truffle!
Classes start this week, we hope to see you in our kitchen for a memorable day!
A WINTER REGAL BREAKFAST IN TUSCANY
- BLACK TRUFFLE OMELETTE -
Winter black truffles are ubiquitous in most parts of Italian countryside , furthermore they predominantly grow to their fullest aroma and taste in wooded areas of Umbria and Tuscany where oak , hazelnut, poplar, and beech trees are interspersed with grazing fields and vineyards . The Latin designation Tuber Melanosporum gives enough clue that it was known enough by the ancient Romans. Back then, they were eschewed as far as the culinary purposes which much later, especially during the Renaissance , became a delicacy at the Noble families' tables both in France and Italy.
For Tuscan chefs or home cooks the winter truffle might enrich the filling of poultry , pheasant , sausages , or simply be shaved and tossed in a skillet for a mouth- watering plate of tagliatelle or Spaghetti .
We have a " truffle town" near Lucca : San Miniato where truffle hunters are foraging for many species of this precious tuber throughout the year and a truffle festival is held there every November. ( LINK ? )
I also discovered a way to have a boost of energy early in the cold mornings with a simple omelette with Black truffle !
RECIPE for one
2 very fresh eggs , preferably organic, 1 tsp of water , 1 tbs of unsalted butter , 3/4 oz of sliced Black truffle , sea salt , fresh ground white pepper .
Make sure that the fresh truffle has been thoroughly brushed and mud removed under fresh running water .
Crack egg in a bowl and add water , salt , a twist of pepper . Whisk until the eggs and whites are incorporated but avoid overbeating . Heat a non- stick skillet , add butter to coat bottom of the pan . Pour in the eggs and with the flat of a fork or spatula move them fast until they coagulate a little .
Add the sliced truffles and start to form the half moon shaped omelette continuing to cook for another 30 seconds . Turn over one side and slide the moist and fluffy omelette on a plate and serve . With more shaved truffle - of course!