I’ve been trying to figure out what I can do for an interesting Foodography 2 (Dairy) photo, and so far I’m not thrilled with what I’ve come up with. Oh, the lasagna photos and the creamy cupcakes were nice (and well as being very tasty), but neither of them are particularly creative. Last night I got to thinking about what I could do with cheese (other than eat all of it… did someone say cheese?), and I came up with a couple of ideas. First and foremost, when I eat a good cheese, I really don’t want to mess with the cheese itself. It’s fine to have it sitting on top of something interesting or to have a bite of fruit or sip of wine with it… but nothing should get in the way of the creamy lusciousness on my tongue.
I’ve shot photos of cheese and crackers, and love the results, but I wanted to do something different. One thing led to another, and I got it in my head to make up a batch of savory biscotti. I really wanted to find a way to make them black… maybe a squid ink or something… for a really striking photo with a creamy white chevre. But, I didn’t get around to doing that yet. Instead, I decided to finally crack open the bottle of truffle oil I purchased a few weeks ago “just in case” (just in case of what, I’m not sure… I guess just in case I need to make truffle biscotti) and searched around for a recipe for savory biscotti. There were a few, but most contained too many other ingredients that would have conflicted with the delicate musky flavor of the truffle oil. I was going to have to do some pretty major surgery on whatever recipe I started with, which turned out to be one of the signature recipe from Central Market. I simplified the recipe dramatically, leaving out the capers, parsley and black pepper. I left in the lemon zest which I thought would provide a nice counter to the truffle.
The result? Not what I was expecting, but very tasty. The lemon essence increased during the 2nd baking, while the truffle receded. However, the lemon is quite nice, and while I was wanting something a bit more pungent, I think it was a happy accident that they were a bit on the mild side. They paired perfectly with a thin slab of Monte Enebro goat cheese.
As for the photos for Foodography? Well, I still have one or two more ideas up my sleeve. Since we are limited to 3 shots this time, I’m holding out to see which I like best.
Lemon Truffle Biscotti
makes about 12 1/2 inch biscotti
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon truffle oil
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon egg wash (egg yolk with a touch of water)
Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until dark brown; be patient, but stir frequently to avoid burning. Mix together flour baking powder and kosher salt. Add butter gradually and mix on low for 1 minute or until crumbly. Stir in mixture of egg, milk and the oils oil until combined. Fold in the lemon zest.
Divide the mixture in half, and roll into a tube about 7 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or silplat and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes. Remove the wrap and gently brush with the egg wash. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 250F. Using a serrated knife, slice the diagonally. Each slice should be 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Lay flat on a wire rack above a baking sheet if you have one, or just put back on the parchment/silplat, flat side down. Bake for 30 minutes on each side, or until crisp. Allow to cool before eating.