Since Celiacs mainly eat junk food made with potatoes, corn, or rice flour, the taste and flavor profiles can get pretty same-old/same-old after a while. The two guilty pleaures that never get old? Fresh, hot popcorn and crispy frites!
A good friend of mine (who was a major foodie) recommended that I go to a restaurant called Play in Ottawa’s trendy Byward Market area, and sit at the bar. Paul explained that when you ordered a drink, they put a basket of the most wonderful just-popped truffle popcorn in front of you, and it was to-die-for. Because a) I like popcorn and b) I like cocktails, I took his advice and checked it out.
He was right. Truffle popcorn was fabulous! Thanks for the heads up on that one, Paul K. Jensen–this post is dedicated to the happy memory of you.
Truffled anything became a huge trend at chic little eateries in the early 2000s, (truffled mayo on frites…mmmmmm) and suddenly a profusion of truffle oils (which were used to “truffle” the recipes) hit the market. Now, as we pretty much all know by now, truffle oil is a bit of a lie. Yes, real truffles lend a slightly garlicky (white), or earthy (black), porcine depth to recipes, and are enormously expensive. But truffle oil? Practically a myth. The reason is that the truffley aroma from truffles soaked in olive oil (how authentic truffle oil would actually be made) is very costly, volatile, and has a very short shelf life. In other words, you’d pay a fortune for “real” truffle oil, only to be left with an obscenely expensive, flavorless olive oil after a few days.
Many of the artificial truffle oils tended to be unrealistically over-the-top truffley, to satisfy the North American demand for flavors taken to the max. They were olive oils with the artificial flavor of truffles on steroids. Then something interesting happened a few years ago, when truffle oil makers decided to focus on “nature-identical” truffle flavoring. The true aroma of the truffles was analyzed by food science-y people, and the chemical breakdown was reformulated with the exact compounds, only synthetic versions. Real truffle flavor and aroma with a long, stable shelf life and a much better pricepoint. Win-win! The best part? It’s not only gluten free, but used in moderation, it makes everything you truffle taste like you’re some hotshot chi-chi chef….even if you’re a complete cooking lazy ass like me. Who primarily truffles popcorn.
TRUFFLED POPCORN (BUTTERY TRUFFLE OIL)
1 tsp truffle oil (make sure that it’s nature-identical: I bought mine at Jacobson’s in Ottawa, but Vittorio & Alberto Strano from Costco is excellent and nature-identical also)
1 tbsp salted butter from pastured cows (I like Kerry Gold).
I tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Optional: I tsp of minced truffles
Salt to taste
Fresh Popped popcorn (I use a Whirly-Pop, but microwave popcorn in unbuttered flavor in the regular size bags is fine–at least 8 cups popped)
Salad or wooden spoons
- In a microwave, melt the butter until it’s completely liquid.
- Stir in the truffle oil
- Stir in the olive oil and minced truffles if you’re adding them
- Salt the popcorn to taste
- Drizzle truffled mixture over the popcorn, tossing it to mix evenly
That’s it. Super-simple and super-delicious. No matter how lame you are in the kitchen, if you serve this, people will think that you’re far more talented than you actually are. Movie night will never be the same!
You can also make a basic Sabatasso’s Gluten-free thin crust cheese pie from Costco with some mushrooms and onions on it, bake it up, and toss a handful or radish sprouts or arugala or slightly seared lettuce over it like they do in the trendy pizza places, and drizzle it with the truffle oil.
BONUS RECIPE (Because I’m so good to you):
FANCY SCHMANCY TRUFFLED MAYO
This is wonderful as a dip for French fries. But if you are serving smashed potatoes or a mushroom stuffed baked potato, it looks absolutely beautiful “scribbled” on like chefs do in nicer restaurants when they’re plating your food.
1/4 cup Hampton Creek Just Mayo (regular mayo will do also)
1 tsp Truffle Oil
1 tsp fresh dill or parsley, (or both) super-finely chopped
Black pepper to taste
Lemon Juice to taste (the plastic lemon kind is fine)
A pinch of Paprika
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, adjusting the lemon juice and salt to taste.
- If you’re dipping your french fries, stop right here and take the bowl over to your fries and start eating!
- If you’re going for that impressive look, spoon the contents of the bowl into a ziplock bag and zip it up, cutting off the tip just a little. Pipe on the Truffled Mayo in a circular or criss cross pattern. Look! Who’s the creative one? Why, it’s you!
You can mix truffle oil sparingly with anything that you want to impart a deep, savory mushroom flavor to. Soon you’ll be making up your own uses. Just like a trendy restsutant So let truffle oil yumminess instantly elevate your flavor game!