Truffle salt is one of those culinary terms that gets more popular every day. As it turns out, the origin of black truffle sea salt goes back to the 16th Century. At that time, a truffle was the sweet fruiting body of underground mycorrhiza fungi, mostly one of the genus of the same family as Tuber. Along with Tuber, other fungi were also classified as truffles, including Geopora, Peziza, Choiromyces, and a hundred others.
During the Industrial Revolution, the most commonly used method of preserving foods was drying. Drying had already been practiced for several years by then, but it was still a fairly new technique. During the industrial revolution, however, some scientists discovered that certain chemicals added to sea salt could help preserve food longer. These chemicals, called "bleaching agents", made the food retains its initial flavor and aroma. The first "truffles" were the result of this process. Thus, the term "truffle salt" was coined to describe the dried remains of these earlier foods.
It wasn't long before the demand for truffle salt began to grow. When France became the first European country to introduce truffle salt, the demand immediately increased. Soon after, other European countries began to take notice. Today, truffle salt is grown in abundance all over the world.
The main reason why Italian black truffle sea salt is so popular with Italian restaurants and cookbooks is because of its unique taste. Like its sea-salt cousins, it adds a hint of flavor to food. Many people enjoy truffle salt for its distinctive flavor, however, others use it as a method of preserving food to make it last a little longer. Truffles are also a great finger food. You can bake truffles, poach them, or grill them and serve them with your favorite dishes.
When buying truffle salt, remember that there are two basic types. There is the regular kind that comes in a bag and has a very coarse-grained texture. This is considered the traditional variety and it is what most people think of when they think of sea salt. As with sea salt, the black summer truffle has a coarser-grained texture and is not recommended for cooking.
However, you can use truffle salt in a pinch. If you are making a sauce for fish or pasta and need a bit of a kick, you can add a few Tables spoonfuls of this salt to the cooking water. It will give it a little bit of seasoning flair. For example, when I was in France we used it on our French fries. It added a unique flavor to them that no one else could have noticed.
Now that you know a little more about truffle salt, you may be interested in trying to recreate a different type of flavor. There is a wonderful wine called Chardonnay that is a wonderful compliment to cheese and seafood dishes. You can drown it in white wine or simply add it to the cooking water. Most chefs enjoy truffle salt scrambled eggs. It is a very simple dish, but it is certainly worth a try.
One more way to add this flavorful herb is to mix it with fresh basil leaves and grind them into fine dust. This mixture can be sprinkled on top of meats before cooking. This combination of oregano, truffle salt, and basil makes for a delicious herb/sea salt combination that you can sprinkle on top of just about any kind of pasta dish. If you are not much of a spice person, then you should be able to at least tolerate a small dusting of this herb before diving in to your Italian black truffle salt recipe.