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!)