Last week, I got very excited that I found truffles in Machane Yehuda. I went ahead and bought them, but as I was working with them, my expectations weren’t being met.
Turns out, I was wrong.
One of the biggest problems was that regardless of how much I cleaned them, they were still gritty, which is annoying. The other is that it’s more about the texture than the flavor, which means I can probably liberate them from the rice. Also, these aren’t shaved thin, they’re boiled then served whole, or prepared in a stew with meat. Evidently they’re good roasted directly over coals, too. In any event, I’m guessing that the desert people from whom we get these truffles aren’t too fussed over having sand and grit in their food.
Overall I’m not too upset, since as I said I simply assumed the same thing applied to these as the applied to the more famous forest truffles. And we all know what happens when you assume. Now that I’ve done some more research, I’m going to take another crack at preparing them. It’s interesting to note that Escoffier mentions them in passing as being “inferior ones” from North Africa.
As for forest truffles, they sell for upwards of NIS 150 a can here. They have in the new Malcha Market, and if you look carefully, you can find them at vendors in Machane Yehuda. For what it’s worth, when I was in St. Tropez on a job, I asked for them, but they weren’t in season.