When to use black vs white truffle oil is less clear cut than the question of black vs white truffles.
When using fresh truffles in cooking, the two species are rarely interchangeable. The use of black vs white truffle oil follows some of the same rationale as using fresh truffles; however, in many cases either of the two truffle oils can be used with equally good results.
It is best to first understand how fresh black vs white truffles are used.
Fresh Black Truffles
In general, black truffles are better when they are cooked. The full flavor and aroma is released when black truffles are heated or cooked, therefore they are often used with red meat and poultry, sauces, pates, and other more robust flavored dishes. The flavor and aroma of black truffles is stronger and more earthy than the more delicate flavor of white truffles.
Fresh White Truffles
Fresh white truffles are always served raw, usually shaved over a dish just before serving. White truffles are frequently served with pasta, risotto, potatoes and eggs as well as white meats and fish. White truffles have a slightly garlicky aroma and a delicate but distinct flavor. They are rarely used in recipes with robust or complex flavors.
Best Black Truffle Oil Uses
Fresh black truffles have a more robust flavor and can be paired with stronger foods, and the same is true for black truffle oil. Add black truffle oil to sauces (after the sauce is cooked and in small quantities), drizzle over hearty meat dishes, wild mushroom ragout, or add a tablespoon or so of black truffle oil to a vinaigrette. Use black truffle oil to enhance the flavor of fresh summer truffles or Burgundy truffles.
Best White Truffle Oil Uses
The slightly garlicky and peppery flavor of white truffle oil is a particularly good match with beef carpacio, white fleshed fish or shellfish, rabbit meat, and other meats with a more delicate flavor.
Sometimes black and white truffle oil can be used interchangeably.
Both black and white truffles pair well with mild foods such as pasta, potatoes, risotto, polenta, corn, cheese and eggs. It follows that all of these foods can be enhanced with either black or white truffle oil. Which truffle oil to use is mostly a matter of personal taste preference. Take popcorn for example. Either white or black truffle oil can be used since neither oil will overpower the flavor of the popcorn, and the popcorn won’t overpower the delicate flavor of the white truffle oil. The same follows for mashed potatoes, pizza crust, macaroni and cheese and many other dishes. Vegetables of all types pair well with truffles, and therefore with truffle oil. Here again, depending on the recipe and one’s personal preference for black vs white truffle oil, either type of truffle oil could be used.
Guidelines For Using Truffle Oil
Whether you chose black or white truffle oil, remember these important guidelines for using truffle oil. Use truffle oil in small amounts. Drizzle it, do not pour it. Cooking with truffle oil is not a good idea. High heat will compromise the truffle flavor, therefore, truffle oil should be added to cooked dishes or sauces at the end of the cooking process just before serving.
By Laurel Pine. President Mirepoix USA, www.enjoyfoiegras.com