In the culinary world, there are few ingredients that are as coveted and distinct as the white truffle. Words like ‘earthy’ and ‘pungent’ are often used to describe the flavor of white truffle. Once you taste it, however, you know that if Mother Nature had made anything better, she would have kept it for herself.
The fact that this elusive and precious ingredient can be found here in Oregon is amazing considering that the truffle is found in but few places in the world. Truffle is the ultimate umami in that, when used thoughtfully with other ingredients, you can be sure to turn a good dish into something truly spectacular.
Truffles come into season in the late fall, when they are harvested and swept up by connoisseurs and chefs. They are mostly thinly shaved onto dishes where the heat from the food releases a pleasant scent that tells you you are about to taste one of life’s greatest pleasures. Truffles can also be jarred whole or made into oils and butters that are available year-round and accessible to the home cook.
For the flavor of the truffle to be enjoyed, it should be used thoughtfully and sparingly on dishes that won’t overpower the delicate and rich flavor that is the truffle. Because of this, dishes like pasta, eggs and risotto are a natural pairing with the truffle. Truffle oil can also be drizzled over a delicate fish or a rich slow-roasted or braised meat to add complexity to a simple dish.
I chose a pizza to showcase the flavor of the Oregon truffle oil. The tender sweet duck confit and the creamy farm fresh egg are a great match for the sumptuous truffle oil. The spicy arugula adds some color and texture. Readymade pizza dough is available at many grocery stores, but it is easy to make your own. Just plan ahead because the dough needs to rest several hours or overnight to get a good chewy texture. Duck confit is available at good grocery stores, or it can be ordered online at Dartagnan.com. This house-made duck came from “Chop” Butchery and Charcuterie at the City Market in Portland.
Use a mildly flavored creamy cheese such as fontina so as not to overpower the unique truffle flavor.
Dough for two 9-inch pizzas
1 teaspoon yeast
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water (105°F to 110°F)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus 1 teaspoon more for coating
2 portions duck confit (leg and thigh)
2 tablespoons white truffle butter softened
1 cup grated fontina cheese
2 cups baby arugula
2 tablespoons Oregon White Truffle Oil
2 farm fresh eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the dough: Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water and set aside for five to ten minutes until foamy. Be sure that the water is not too hot; temperatures of 120°F and above will kill the yeast, and your dough will not rise.Add flour and salt to the bowl of a standing mixer. Mix for ten seconds. Add yeast mixture and one tablespoon olive oil. Mix on slow speed using paddle attachment for two to three minutes until dough pulls away from side of bowl. Use remaining olive oil to grease the bottom and sides of a metal bowl. Gather dough into a ball and place in bowl turning to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled. Punch down dough and place in plastic bag that has been coated with a small amount of olive oil. Seal bag and place in refrigerator overnight.
For the pizza: Place pizza stone in oven and heat to 350°F. Place duck legs in oven for about ten minutes to heat through. Remove duck from oven, pull meat from bones (discard duck skin) and set aside. Raise oven temperature to 475°F. Divide pizza dough into two portions and roll thin, using extra flour if needed. (I used my pasta attachment from my KitchenAid to get the dough extra thin.) Place rolled dough on pizza peel that has been dusted with semolina or corn meal. Spread a thin layer of truffle butter on each pizza including edges. Place half of the duck meat on each of the pizzas and then half of the cheese leaving a small space in the middle for each egg yolk. Crack each egg into a small bowl. Gently slide pizzas onto heated pizza stone. Carefully deposit egg into center of each pizza. Bake for eight to ten minutes or until egg is set and edges are golden. While pizzas bake, toss arugula with white truffle oil and a bit of salt and pepper. Remove pizzas from oven and top with arugula. Drizzle more truffle oil if desired. Serve immediately.