Monday, May 14, 2012

"The Best Burger I've Ever Had!" -- A Love Letter to Truffle Oil

Truffle oil. One of those overrated, fancy-pants, over-priced mystery ingredients--right?
Yeah, that's what I thought too.

I didn't give this magic syrup much thought, it couldn't be as amazing as everyone said it was. Google searches showed that a tiny bottle of this stuff was more than I really wanted to spend. A stroll through the local supermarket yielded only a bottle of "truffle-flavored balsamic." Finally, I picked up a tiny bottle during a random Whole Foods run for $10. True, it wasn't legit truffle oil (the bottle says "made with truffle essence" or something), but I figured it would work enough to play around with.


And then it stayed in my cabinet for 6 months. I have this habit of saving things because I'm scared to use them up or ruin them. I think it stems from when I was little and I was eating beef stew with my Nana and I kept picking out the chunks of beef and asking for more soup--but just the beef please. My Nana told me that "next time, you should save the beef until the end, so that you can enjoy it for longer! Save the best for last!" To this day, I eat all the purple Skittles first and save the red ones until the end. This mentality carries over to other things--like jewelry. I keep my more expensive pieces under lock and key, afraid I'll lose or break them if I overuse them. Saving them for special occasions, so I can enjoy them longer.

The tiny, overpriced oil waited in my cupboard, victim to my "save the best for last" mentality and the fact that I couldn't figure out how to use it. Then, on a whim, I decided I wanted to make hamburger rolls with my baking friend. Obviously, we needed to make hamburgers to go inside said rolls, and I remembered the time I tried to re-create a burger from my favorite local burger joint. Why not try it with my newfound moist-burger trick AND actual truffle oil? It was a plan. And, of course, the burgers were topped with bacon, mushrooms, and cheddar, because those are the things dreams are made of. Burger dreams.

Homemade hamburger buns topped with poppy seeds

My friend's mom was baffled. She kept repeating "this is so good! These are the best burgers I've ever eaten! How are they so good??" And, even better news, these didn't give me stomach problems! Rejoice! I'm finding that food I make from scratch is usually okay, restaurant food is what's tricky. Makes sense I guess. 

It's all the truffle oil. Truffle oil, I will never doubt you again. You may smell funny, be overpriced, and the subject of many Top Chef Challenge criticisms ("you rely too heavily on the truffle oil!")--none of it matters. Your affect on food is fantastic. I can only imagine the utter mouthgasm that actual real truffles would provide. Jeesh!

Also made truffled baked french fries which were probably the best thing I've ever eaten. I can't wait to share that recipe with you folks, as well as the hamburger buns--which came out a little denser than expected but, as is true with homemade bagels, something about homemade bread just beats that bagged kind out of the water!

Truffled Burgers with Bacon, Mushroom, and Cheddar
  • 1 lb freshly ground beef
  • 1 slice white bread
  • 1 tbs milk
  • 2 tsp truffle oil
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to season
  • Handful of baby bella mushrooms
  • 8 Slices maple bacon, cooked (I baked them in the oven until desired crispiness, my new favorite way to cook bacon)
  • 4 Slices cheddar cheese (I only had shredded)


-In a large bowl, place the slice of bread and sprinkle milk onto it until soggy. Shred the bread with a fork, then incorporate the ground beef. Add one teaspoon of truffle oil and salt and pepper. Mix in well.

-Heat olive oil and remaining truffle oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. When warm, add mushrooms and cook until soft. Remove mushrooms from skillet and set aside.

-Form the beef mixture into four patties and place in the same skillet. Adjust the heat (I turned it up) and cook burgers until desired done-ness. You can grill them if you'd like, but I wanted to cook it in the leftover oil for added flavor.

-When burgers are nearly done, top with cheese, bacon, and mushrooms and leave on heat until cheese is melty. Remove burgers from heat and place in buns--homemade is best! Also pairs quite well with fries baked in truffle oil (recipe to come!)

25 comments:

  1. I do the SAME THING with hoarding different specialty items because I'm too anxious that I'm going to use them up...but isn't that the point of buying them? Hmm. I'm going to have to seek out this truffle balsamic!

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    1. The truffle balsamic vinegar was the only thing my local supermarket had, and it really didn't taste like much. I think it'd be interesting in a salad dressing or something, but the actual (albeit "cheap") truffle oil had much more flavor. If you want the fantastical taste, I'd go with that.

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  2. Truffle oil is really fantastic. I love drizzing it over white bean spread and some crusty bread.

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    1. You made a white bean spread with truffle oil in it once, yes? I think that's what initially inspired me to find this magic stuff!

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  3. I do that too. I have all these things that I want to use but am afraid to use them because I don't want them to be gone. And I definitely have two bottles each of white and black truffle oils. Time to start using them. That burger sounds phenomenal. Beautiful pictures!

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    1. Thanks! I'm excited that my pictures are getting better :) Natural light helps a ton, but these were actually taken at a friend's house who has a light tent. I was so impressed with my picture quality that I bought my own! I'm excited for it to come in the mail :)

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  4. This looks absolutely delicious!

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  5. What a delicious meal. You even made homemade buns! I heard about truffle oil, but I don't have one. You made me convinced to get one and make sure I don't put it in the back of cabinet... My problem for buying unusual ingredient is that I tend to forget that I bought. =P Now I'm getting very hungry. Haven't had burgers for a while, I definitely need to eat some soon!

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    1. Hehe! Just put it next to your olive oil or another much-used ingredient so you'll remember :)

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  6. These burgers look and sound amazing. I do love it when I eat out, but I still haven't sprung for the bottle of truffle oil for home cooking. I'm realizing now that I really should...

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    1. It is fantastic. If you can spring $10 for just a little bottle to experiment with, it's definitely worth it.

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  7. I need to get some truffle oil, like, ASAP

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  8. These look incredible - and remind me that I've got some truffle oil in my pantry that I haven't touched in a while. I hope it's still good!

    I could be wrong about this, but I'm pretty sure that when you read "truffle essence," that's typical of all truffle oils. I don't think truffle oil is actually made from truffles - it's made in a lab. Which doesn't stop it from being delicious, but is a little weird.

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    1. Ohh... that makes sense. Whatever it is, it's delicious. Also I got it at Whole Foods, so maybe it somehow is less artificial by association? hehe...

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    2. Here we go, thanks Wiki! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truffle_oil

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  9. I'm a "save the best for last" person, too. I'm glad you decided to break into the truffle oil, though. Those burgers sound amazing!

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  10. Your burgers look so juicy and delicious! Truffle oil . . . I need to try it! Especially after you raved over it. I hear truffle salt is pretty darn good too.

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  11. I have never taste truffle oil in my life. I have heard that it is very very very delicious and you are so lucky to eat it with your burger.

    I need to buy a bottle of truffle oil NOW!

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    1. Definitely buy a small bottle to experiment with! I was totally turned off by the smell--it was kind of funky--but the taste was out of this world.

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  12. You did make the humble burger look truly delicious! I love different oils. My personal favourite would have to be lemon olive oil I think. YuM!

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    1. Sometime this summer I really want to infuse my own olive oil, I think it'd be fun!

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  13. Hello Bee,
    Thanks for the Truffled Burgers with Bacon, Mushroom, and Cheddar recipe.
    I'll create one for sure, my kids are gonna like it :)
    If you don't mind, can you submit your Truffled Burgers with Bacon, Mushroom, and Cheddar photo in http://www.foodporn.net ?
    It's a food photography site full of all DIY food pictures from members around the world. Or perhaps you'd like to submit by yourself? Let me know when you did, so I can share it.

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  14. I love burgers and now that the BBQ season is finally here, I'll invite a few friends over to try your recipe. If only truffle oil was cheaper :(

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  15. Your burger looks absolutely delicious! I love mushrooms with them, all juicy and caramelized. Your photos are wonderful.

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  16. I just made these dear, and they were delicious! I grilled them and they were a little bit overdone, but the flavor was out of this world! Thanks for giving me ideas on how to use up my truffle oil!

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