Deep-fried whole black truffle
let's bread it, fry it, and dip it in ketchup
Something magical happened this week. After I posted about eating a whole jarred truffle, someone (who wishes to stay anonymous), informed me that they could get me a fresh black one. I didn’t think it would be that easy, but sure enough, a few days later, I was staring at a big black truffle cradled in a pint container of rice.
I’d purchased extra jarred truffles for the sake of fucking around with them today, but never in a million years had I expected to get my hands on a fresh one.
I stood there, staring at this thing, and frankly, it was making me nervous. These things aren’t cheap, and the sweet, complex smell from the black truffle made me feel like I was handling a Fabergé egg. I do things like air fry dicks in my kitchen; having a truffle in it seemed so out of place, and insulting to the truffle itself. I mean, our apartment is a haven to food like Taco Bell, which is what some people consider mere peasant shit (they’re clearly wrong).
But I reminded myself that luxury is a weird concept, especially when it comes to something like food. Sure, the world is full of rare delicacies, but eating something that looks like a tumor plucked from the ground shouldn’t be something you can wave around in people’s faces to make them feel bad about themselves. Plus you crap it out after you eat it. Crapping is one of existence’s great equalizers and will knock everyone down a few pegs after you witness what you just did to your toilet.
So I said to myself, “Dannis Ree, you are in possession of one of the most treasured ingredients in the world, a rare truffle. There are rich people all over the world who would assassinate you for this treasure. But they’re all assholes. What is the most disrespectful thing you could do to this thing to piss them all off?”
I cleared my mind completely and began to exist in a zen-like state. I didn’t want the world’s troubles to distract me from the task at hand, so I let myself slip away. As I stood there, I began to feel a faint warmth rising from my skin, and my eyes snapped open, pupils dilated, irises now a pure black.
“You should deep fry the fuckin’ thing,” I said to myself. “Then go one step further and dip it into the most insulting condiment possible.”
The camera zoomed in on my face as I cackled.
(Bet you thought I was going to say ranch.)
Before I go on, today’s newsletter was initially supposed to be one for paid subscribers. Then I realized that not everyone gets to witness someone deep fry a fucking truffle, and since I’m a man of the people, I decided to make the content free.
But I would ask for you to seriously consider upgrading your subscriptions to paid ones, not just because I shelled out for this thing, but because I run Food is Stupid mainly by myself. I’m not supported by the bones of a professional publication, the newsletter exists from the support of readers like you. Besides, isn’t it nice to not see ads plastered through this whole thing?
Okay, back to the show.
I’m not particularly fond of, nor good at, frying food.
So I thought I’d get some assistance from a convenient product that I could pick up from any major grocery store. But what could I fry with that had a lot of flavor, texture, and a down-to-Earth vibe to it?
Ah yes, Shake ‘N Bake.
We used to eat Shake ‘N Bake all the fucking time when I was growing up. My mom’s cooking is, and always was, particularly wonderful. But man, did I get sick of Shake ‘N Bake after a while. I’m sure the food wasn’t as bad as I remember it being, but now all I associate with Shake ‘N Bake is dry pork chops and chicken.
Also, if you’ll notice, a bunch of friends decided to join the gang for spectating today. After all, it’s not often we have a celebrity ingredient in the kitchen.
Shake ‘N Bake isn’t too fussy, but I did make a slight change in its preparation procedures.
Normally all you need to do is moisten the surface of your meat of choice, and shake the meat and the breading all together in a plastic bag until the chops or chicken breasts are coated evenly.
But I wanted to make sure the stuff would stick to the truffle, so I used a flour dredge along with a beaten egg, to adhere the Shake ‘N Bake to the opulent forest turd. Don’t mind me, I’m just admiring that previous sentence for a bit.
The result was this adorable little thing that looked like a miniature Scotch egg.
I fried the thing off with the possibly rancid oil we had in the pantry.
Oil’s not supposed to smell like a crayon, is it? Wait, I’m the professional food writer here. Aren’t I supposed to know this? Shit. I’ve been exposed.
As the truffle enjoyed its oil bath, I squeezed some Heinz ketchup into a little dipping bowl.
Then I gilded the ketchup with some gold leaf. If you’re wondering why I have gold leaf just laying around, it’s because I once wrapped a hot dog in it for my day job at The Takeout. Wait. Are you saying you don’t just have gold leaf sitting in your pantry right now? Commoner.
After a few minutes, the deep-fried truffle was ready to go.
It did transform into a deep shade of brown, which made me feel like I’d burned the coating, but it smelled fine. Speaking of, that interesting truffle smell that had been emanating from it mere minutes ago was completely gone, and now replaced by the scent of cooking oil.
Truffles are prized for their smell, and I’d basically just turned this into a fried knob that could have been practically anything. Amazing.
I let Davida take the first bite of the deep-fried truffle.
She dipped it into a generous amount of golded (I made that word up just now) Heinz ketchup and took a big bite. I watched her munch on it for a minute and a quizzical expression showed up on her face.
“I wasn’t expecting my teeth to just sink into it like that,” she said, while handing the remainder of the truffle over. “This is your Piss Christ.”
I looked at her and blinked. Then I looked down at the truffle in my hand, dunked it into the ketchup, and took a nervous bite.
What an odd experience.
First of all, I wasn’t expecting the thing to be so…juicy. A truffle in its natural form feels pretty dry and leathery. When you grate one, the fresh truffle can sometimes have the same textural appeal of pencil shavings applied directly to your food. But when I deep-fried it, the thing had apparently steamed itself from the inside out.
I’ve never really experienced anything like it. The truffle was crumbly but very moist, as you can tell by the photo, and broke apart into little constituent bits as I chewed it. It almost had the texture of a steamed cauliflower floret, now that I think about it.
And yes, that signature black truffle flavor was front and center, even through the hefty coat of ketchup I’d put on it. The heavily seasoned Shake ‘N Bake coating was pretty strong and salty up front, but eventually caved into the truffle aftertaste, which lingered quite a bit afterwards. I’d actually say the whole thing was pretty good, in a Midwestern fairgrounds sort of way.
Heh. That was the most expensive single breaded mushroom (technically a tuber, but whatever) ever known to man, probably. I can feel all the French chefs of years past just rolling around in their graves, since I disrespected a sacred ingredient in the most American way I knew how. Hell, I can even feel all the living French chefs in kitchens across the world clutching their faces in horror right now. Whatever.
It’s not like I’m not going to crap this thing out tomorrow, anyway. Hopefully that experience is as luxurious as its main ingredient.
Classic Dannis, ending the newsletter on a brown note this week. If you liked my truffle escapades, don’t forget to share this thing by forwarding it to your entire extended family, or by clicking on this handy button to share it on social media:
And don’t worry. Despite my diet, I’ll still remain your working-class friend, mostly because deep-frying a truffle is possibly going to drive me down a tax bracket.
I won’t bug you about upgrading your subscription too much down here in the footer as much as I usually do. At this point you probably already know that once you sign up, you get exclusive editions nearly every week (today’s a rare exception) as well as unfettered access to the three-year-and-running archive at foodisstupid.substack.com.
Lastly, I’d like to thank the anonymous benefactor who hooked me up today. While your identity will remain in the shadows, you afforded me the ability to fuck around with an ingredient I never expected to handle on my own.
As always, I love you all, and I’ll hop into your inboxes next week. Probably with a stunt that costs me way less.
"This is your piss Christ."
A new high water mark in excellent investigative food journalism.