The Truffle (Tuber cibarium) grows under ground, a few inches beneath the surface. Truffles are not common in England, though occasionally found. They are imported chiefly from Perigord, and they are also abundant in Piedmont. They like dry, light soils, and are found at the roots of oak and chestnut trees. Dogs are taught to find them bv scent, and show where they are by scratching the ground: or even will dig them up. They are collected between October and January. When they are quite mature they become gelatinous, and gradually dissolve away.
The truffle is about the size of a hen's egg, and has no roots or fibrils; the skin is blackish or dark grey, with small projections like warts on it. The flesh is greyish white or blackish with black or brown veins. They are very expensive to purchase.
They are much used for flavourings.
Truffles are found in England in Hampshire, Wilts, and Kent. They are in season all the winter, from November to March.
Time, 1 hour or more.
Clean the truffles well by washing them in several waters and removing the earth with a brush till they are quite free from it; butter some pieces of white writing-paper and wrap each truffle in it. Bake them in a hot oven for an hour at least. When they are done remove the papers, wipe the truffles, and serve them in a hot napkin. Or, They may be cut in slices, seasoned with pepper, salt, garlic, and pounded mace, and baked for about an hour in a quarter of a pint of the best salad oil. When they are done squeeze a lemon over them.
Take twelve large truffles, pare the outside skins off very thin, wash them, and put them into a stewpan that will just hold them, and cover them with half white wine, half water, two or three cloves, a little salt, and a quarter of a blade of mace. Cover them close, and boil them gently for an hour, then fold a napkin, lay it in a dish, and serve the truffles on it.
Pare off the outside from six or eight large green truffles, cut them in thin slices, and put them into a stewpan with half a pint of gravy, a glass of white wine, sweet herbs tied together, pepper, salt, and mace. Cover them close, and let them simmer very slowly for one hour, then add a piece of butter mixed with flour. Stew it until thick, and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, crisp the top of a French roll, put it in the centre of a dish, take out the bunch of sweet herbs, and put the truffles over the roll.