A Little Truffle Oil Will Take Your Bean Dip From Simple To Sophisticated

Game day without bean dip and chips? Inconceivable! No matter whether you like to grab a couple of ready-made tubs from the store or whizz up your own version of this protein-packed appetizer, we've got a dandy way to elevate your dip from the simple to the sophisticated; the nimblest drizzle of truffle oil. This aromatic addition lends this classic, filling dip a robust umami oomph that's earthy, mushroomy, and nutty.

Now, we're talking about the real deal here — not the stuff made with synthetic additives that has a chemical-like aftertaste, but truffle oil that's infused with shavings of actual truffles. While we concede that a synthetic truffle oil is less expensive than one prepared with real truffles, some varieties have an unpalatable artificial flavor that lingers on the tongue (indeed Martha Stewart goes so far as describing these synthetic truffle oils as "horrible" because they "cling" to the taste buds). That's why it's better to select an olive oil that's been imbued with the damp, heady scent of bonafide truffles. However, you must follow one simple rule with any variety of truffle oil — use it deftly, aiming for a light drizzle over a generous glug. Just a few drops will beautifully complement the hot chili in a spicy black bean dip with cilantro, or become the star of the show in a milder-tasting dip made with cannellini beans and fresh garlic.

Truffle oil has an intense, potent aroma

Proper truffle oil has an extremely potent scent and flavor that can overpower a dish, which is why it must be used sparingly. Yes, it does cost extra but it's still more affordable than using shavings of genuine truffle, which are uber-pricey because they're seasonal, hard to grow, and tricky to harvest. Unlike a fruity olive oil that can be generously poured over hummus, less is more when it comes this intense infusion. Also be mindful that the oil you select will have a different flavor depending on the variety of truffles it's been made with. For example, white truffles have more of a delicate taste than muskier black truffles.

To elevate your dip, simply decant it into a bowl, and add some fresh garnishes along with your oil to gussy up your supermarket haul. Better yet, make your own creamy bean dip and customize it with flavors that team well with the pungent taste of the truffle oil. For instance, the characteristic earthy flavor of truffle is a delicious accompaniment to nutty cheeses, like Gruyere and Parmesan — why not top your bean dip with a layer of melty cheese before adding your truffle oil? The rising heat from the dip will also volatilize the aromas in the blend and awaken that distinctive scent. Finally, be creative with the crispy additions that you serve with your bean dip. Instead of classic potato chips, try pita chips, crackers, grissini, or bagel chips.