The annual truffle festival may have finished a few weeks ago but that doesn't mean white truffles can't be found - in fact, I would say that this year has been a good one, with a plentiful supply meaning lower prices.
When selecting a truffle it is important to both smell and feel the truffle. First off, it must have a good aroma - if it doesn't then move on. Next point is to select one that is firm and not spongy - if it feels soft that means it is old. Appearance is relatively unimportant - don't be put off by the small holes or nibble marks on the surface. Snails in particular are quite partial to biting into only the best truffles.
As a white truffle is all about aroma, you want to match it with dishes that will accentuate that aroma. It's best pairings are with dairy products, eggs, pasta and vegetables like potatoes and cauliflower.
The dish I've made is very simple - without the white truffle, it would make an excellent breakfast or brunch dish. It's a bit of a play of eggs florentine - the combination of poached egg and spinach - in this version, the eggs are oven baked on a bed of sautéed spinach and finished off with shavings of white truffle.
[For 2 greedy people]
200 grams sautéed baby spinach
Alba White Truffle
I've first sautéed the spinach in a little butter until it's just started to soften and then seasoned it with a little freshly ground sea salt and white pepper. It's then divided between two oven proof terracotta dishes.
Using the back of a spoon, I've slightly indented the surface to create to well to hold the eggs. The eggs have been cracked into a bowl and the yolks carefully added to the indentations and then the egg white is poured evenly over it all.
To finish off, a tablespoon of cream is drizzled over the top of the yolks.
Place the dishes on a baking tray and cook in a preheated 170°C oven until the whites have set and the yolks are heated through but still runny.
Serve at once topped with shaved white truffle and a side of buttery toast.