Vegetarian ‘faux gras’ dip with truffle oil

Ever since I came back to London after six months of minimalist backpacking, one of my main pleasures has been eating all the wonderful things available in this international city, which we couldn’t find in South America. This includes Indian food, Greek yogurt, cured meats, fresh cheeses, and most importantly, truffle oil.

I wanted to get some high quality stuff, as there’s not much point in a cheap bottle, but this was proving difficult, as many oils often contain a miniscule percentage of truffles, or only truffle essence. But after some research, I came across TruffleHunter UK, who focus on sourcing the best quality truffles available, and produce everything locally in the Cotswolds. They sell fresh truffles, truffle butter, other condiments, and various forms of oil. All their oils contain actual pieces of truffle as well as flavourings, and they use extra virgin olive oil to boot. After reading their stellar reviews, I ordered one bottle of white truffle oil, and one black, just for luck. And as soon as I unscrewed the bottle to take a whiff, I was floored. A word of warning though, as it is super concentrated, it has a very strong smell, so be sure to drizzle with caution!

To christen the bottles, I treated myself to a beautifully creamy burrata and drizzled it on top with salt and pepper…

And then this weekend, I decided to try something a bit different. A friend sent me this recipe (from Oprah, no less) for ‘faux gras’, which sounded intriguing. To me, it bears no resemblance to that fatty, meaty product, but nonetheless it’s a gorgeously rich dip that bursts with flavour. And the truffle oil simply adds that extra zing! I brought it to a picnic in Regent’s Park, and we combined it with some olive ciabatta, which made for a perfect summery evening.

It was also a great excuse to buy some port wine, which is now on my shelf, begging to be used. I’m sure I’ll find an occasion…

Serves 3-4 people as a small starter

  • 4-5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1.5 tbsp salted capers
  • 20-30ml tawny port (I got mine at Marks & Spencer)
  • 1 tbsp TruffleHunter white truffle oil
  • 1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Water, to blend

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the onion. Turn down the heat and let it caramelise for around 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently. Once it’s all golden and delicious and frothy, add the capers and tawny port and simmer for a few minutes until the liquid is slightly reduced. Take off the heat and let cool slightly before adding to your blender with the truffle oil, olive oil, and a dash of water. Blend until smooth (if it’s too chunky and doesn’t blend well, add a bit more water, butter, or olive oil).

Chill for a few hours, top with a sprinkling of fleur de sel, and then serve with crackers, bread, or carrot sticks. Enjoy!

The truffle oils were a gift from TruffleHunter UK, but as always, all opinions are my own.