16 Feb Special of the Day~ Oregon Truffle Festival Favorites
Always on the lookout for interesting culinary excursions for the two of us to enjoy together, my mom and I were fortunate enough to travel to the Willamette Valley in late January to immerse ourselves in all things truffle during the Oregon Truffle Festival.
Established in 2006, the Oregon Truffle Festival has now expanded to three weekends in January which include the Joriad Truffle Dog Championship, the Newburg-Yamhill weekend and the Eugene event. The Oregon Truffle Festival aims to educate attendees about Oregon’s wealth of wild truffles and celebrate these rare and highly prized mushrooms that grow in private woodlands in the area.
Friday afternoon had us gathering in the bar of the Bottle + Kitchen restaurant in the Hotel Rose in Portland for a warm welcome to the Oregon Truffle Festival-Newburg and Yamhill. We enjoyed truffled appetizers presented by Chef Rick Ebster, a standout of which was the Truffle Brie Crostini with Pineapple Marmalade. Bright and beautiful on the plate as well as on the palate, the crostini creation was composed of truffle-infused brie atop a lightly toasted baguette slice accompanied by a sweet and spicy tropical marmalade.
Our appetites and interest in truffles aptly aroused, we made our way to Dundee, about 30 miles southwest of Portland, to check in to our inn and get ready for the “Shaved & Infused: Chef Showcase” event at the Chehalem Cultural Center Friday evening, during which eight area chefs presented tastings of imaginative culinary creations using both black and white truffles. Chef tastings ranged from Dungeness Crab Salad with Black Truffle Hollandaise and Shaved Oregon Black Truffle on a Green Garlic Scone to Southern Style White Grits with Charred Cauliflower, White Truffle Butter and Shaved Oregon White Truffles to Oregon Black Truffle Ice Cream topped with Kirshwasser-infused Dark Chocolate Shell on a Lemon-Vanilla Cake.
Topping the list for me in terms of taste and presentation was Chef Robin Jackson’s Roasted Beets with Oregon White Truffle Crème Fraiche, Witloof Chicory, Truffle Infused Hazelnuts and Figs, a creative composition of locally produced ingredients with flavors that complemented each other perfectly.
Less is more when it comes to the truffle, I say, and Jackson agreed when I chatted with him that evening. He has been involved with the Oregon Truffle Festival for years, and his expertise in making the unique truffle flavor shine without overwhelming a dish was evident in the amazing appetizers he created for the tasting event.
Dressed for forest foraging, sporting our newly-acquired truffle hunting boots, Mom and I were up and out early the next morning, excited for our expedition at the Angela Estate vineyard. There our truffle foray group met Mike and his truffle hunting dog Mossimo, a Lagotto Romagnolo, who led us into the dark and damp Douglas fir forest on the edge of the vineyard. Mossimo worked hard for over an hour sniffing out and locating truffles (which, by the way, grow several inches underground near the roots of the trees) for Mike, who immediately rewarded him with a “Bravo, Mossimo!” and a treat before unearthing the small, bumpy dirt-covered nuggets for all of us. We celebrated our successful hunt with a glass of Angela Pinot Noir enjoyed around the fire before traveling to a lovely luncheon at the Penner-Ash Estate winery.
The advice we received about how to make the best of the truffle we (Mossimo) found was to wash it thoroughly, dry it and place it in a plastic container (that has a lid) with ingredients you wish to infuse with the truffle flavor~ like whole raw eggs (yes, the truffle aroma is strong enough to permeate the egg shell), butter, oil, or cheese. Put the lid on and place it in the refrigerator overnight. Then you can take the truffle out and shave it (use a microplane, if you have one) on risotto, pasta, a cream sauce, or over buttered popcorn.
As luck would have it, we had just enough time to do a wine tasting Saturday afternoon in the Angela Vineyard tasting room on the first floor of our inn before it was time to get ready for our Black & White Dinner Series at the Joel Palmer House where we enjoyed a five-course truffle-inspired extravaganza paired with WillaKenzie Estate wines.
Sunday morning consisted of circulating through the Fresh Truffle Marketplace set up in the Chehalem Cultural Center where vendors were selling everything truffle from fresh truffles (at hundreds of dollars a pound and more) to truffle oil to truffle salt, as well as other locally produced food products and wine, followed by a truffle dog demonstration and a cooking demonstration.
Having thoroughly enjoyed our Oregon Truffle Festival experience, we would highly recommend it to any truffle enthusiast up for an adventure.
If you go:
Oregon Truffle Festival
Bottle + Kitchen
50 SW Morrison Street
Inn at Red Hills
1410 N. Highway 99W
Angela Estate tasting room
1326 N Highway 99W
Penner-Ash Wine Cellars
15777 NE Ribbon Ridge Road
The Joel Palmer House
600 Ferry Street
If you’re hunting for truffle oil locally:
Wines by Wednesday
214 5th Street South
Great Falls, Montana
Black truffle oil for $27 for 100 ml
White truffle oil for $27 for 100 ml
Truffle infused olive oil for $3.50 per ounce
Bringing a taste of the truffle back home for you in this week’s Special of the Day~ Oregon Truffle Festival Favorites and recipes for Truffle-Brie Crostini with Pineapple Marmalade and Joel Palmer House Wild Mushroom Risotto with Oregon White Truffles and Truffle Oil. Happy cooking with truffles!
And thank you very much to Chef Rick Ebster from Bottle+Kitchen and Jack Czarnecki from the Joel Palmer House for sharing your terrific truffle recipes.
Truffle Brie Crostini
Recipe by Rick Ebster
Bottle + Kitchen
Make the pineapple marmalade:
2 cup medium brunoise (small cubes of precise and uniform size) fresh pineapple
2 jalapenos, deseeded, medium brunoise (small cubes of precise and uniform size)
1 orange, zest & juice
1 lemon, zest & juice
2 cup pineapple juice
2 cup sugar
Salt & pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in pot and bring to simmer. Let simmer until thickened. Add water if marmalade gets too thick.
1 baguette cut ¼ inch thick
½ cup melted butter
Salt & pepper
Lay cut baguette onto sheet pan. Brush with melted butter. Season with salt & pepper. Toast for 10 minutes at 350 or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool
Cut 1 inch squares of brie approximately ½ inch thick. Shave black truffle and put one slice on top of each piece of brie or enough to cover the brie. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight.
Lay crostini on sheet pan. Place truffle brie on top of crostini. Bake at 350 for about 3-5 minutes or until brie has melted slightly. Remove and immediately spoon pineapple marmalade on top of brie then shave more black truffle on top of marmalade and serve.
Joel Palmer House Wild Mushroom Risotto with Oregon White Truffles and Truffle Oil
Recipe courtesy of Jack Czarnecki
Serves 10 as a small starter or 4 for a main course.
Wine pairing suggestion: Eyrie Pinot Noir
This may be the most popular dish at The Joel Palmer House, our restaurant in Dayton which is now run by our son, Chris.
½ oz. dried porcini
1 qt. water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
¼ lb unsalted butter
1 cup long grain rice
½ oz. dried onion
Grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 oz. White Truffle Oil
In uncovered saucepan, bring dried mushrooms, water, sugar, salt and soy sauce to boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain out the liquid and reserve. Chop the mushrooms finely.
In a medium sauté pan melt the butter and add the dried onion and rice. Stir for 1 minute then add the reserved mushroom liquid. Cook uncovered and stir gently until water is absorbed and evaporated, about 15-20 minutes. Add mushrooms.
Portion rice, drizzle lightly with Parmesan cheese and truffle oil and serve.
Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.