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Mushrooms, my love!

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
A question from CC about "Ovoli" has inspired me to start a thread about one of my favourite food items...MUSHROOMS. I must say that I've been pretty surprised reading that, according to some posts, a lot of people here believes that Italy is the best place for mushrooms...either all you guys are incredibly kind with me as I'm Italian, or there is some environmental factor I don't know:)

Since it seems to me that there are deep differences in the mushrooms locally available in the world, I'd like to know which varieties are typical of the various countries (America, China, Japan, France and so on), which are their features, and if it's possible to compare them and/or substitute the one with the other.

As for Italian mushrooms, these are the best and most diffused:

1) PORCINI (Boletus Edulis): you already know a lot about them...although I've been shocked hearing about their price in US! $ 40 each pound is a madness:eek: since, as I said, in Italy the 1st quality Porcini (the baby ones that you can eat raw) cost about $8-10 a pound.
In any case, the best variety (Boletus Edulis) is not the only one...there are other edible Boleti (Boletus Aureus, Boletus Pinicola, Boletus Castaneus) which are pretty good even if the quality is not just the same, both for texture and flavour. When you buy Dried "Porcini" (drying makes them obviously less recognizable) always check on the package if they're only Boletus Edulis or mushrooms "of the family" as in this case both the price and the quality are more ordinary;)

2) OVOLI (Amanita Caesarea): this mushroom is a real delicacy as it's becoming more and more difficult to find, also in Italy. It's the only edible Amanita and differs from the other, dangerous ones (Amanita Phalloides, Amanita Muscaria, Amanita Pantherina) as it's the one whose stalk and lamellae are yellow and not white.
It's the best mushroom to be eaten raw, mainly the baby, still closed ones, and can be cooked also although I don't like it so much when cooked (it becomes slimy and gets a "fishy" taste).

3)GALLINACCIO o FINFERLO (Cantharellus Cibarius): this small, yellow mushroom, nicely shaped as a trumpet, is my second favourite one after the Porcino and, as far as I know, is rather widely diffused in Europe. It's the only one I may sometimes like more than Porcini as it's very tasty and has a "harder" texture which makes it more suitable for tomato-based sauces (in example for pasta or polenta, or as a side dish)

4)MAZZA DI TAMBURO (Lepiota Procera): this large, umbrella-shaped mushroom is the best for frying as it's particularly fleshy. If it's harvested when it's still closed, you can keep it in a glass full of water like a flower until the cap is opened and then cut it away and fry it whole, coated with breadcrumbs like a "Cotoletta alla Milanese".

All the other varieties available in Italy (Chiodini, Prataioli, Sanguignoli, Ditole and so on) and the artificially grown varieties aren't that special and I'll leave out them.

More info and your recipes are welcome!:)

post #2 of 25
the best porcini are from Italy.

Missouri mushrooms....I find alot of Chanterelles in summer...ours are apricoty and have an incredible flavor and aroma. This should be a great year for them, we've had alot of water and man is it getting hot. 4 years ago I found 70#

Black trumpets or Trump d' Mort....grow in rocky soil, I've found a them dried and buy about 5# dried a year

Morels....we have several varieties that are incredible. they grow very large in this neck of the woods...I do not have alot of luck finding them. Much like fishing if I'm not finding them it's not much fun. Old timey hunters tend to batter and fry them, true shame to a great shroom

Shaggy Mane...light and wonderful like an asparagus

Oh it's been a long day, I'll type more tomorrow.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #3 of 25
Oh Pongi!! I love mushrooms so much

Here two common varieties are popular.
The white mushrooms and the pleurotus mushrooms.

You can prepare white mushrooms in many ways, a relatively traditional one is prepared mostly in Cyrpus " White mushrooms yahni" (in casserole with tomato sauce) :lips:

We eat a lot of white mushrooms raw in green salads

Wild mushrooms are rare in Athens, I have only had them in Nick's village on the mountains barbecued in the fire place :lips:

Pleurotus are in fashion lately and we serve them grilled in a plateau with many grilled vegetables

Great thread Pongi :)
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 

Mushrooms in Italy, episode 2...

Going on with the traditional Italian mushroom recipes:

Basically, there is a difference between the way mushroom are cooked in the coastal countries along the Appennines (like Liguria or Tuscany) and the "continental" Italy (Pianura Padana and Alps).

In the Appenninic regions mushroom recipes (generally made with Porcini which are particularly good there) are usually quite dry, lacking tomato but seasoned with plenty of aromatic herbs and spices. The most common recipes are:

1)FUNGHI "AL FUNGHETTO": sauteed in oil and simply seasoned with chopped garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. This recipe, which takes its name just from mushrooms, is used to cook many other vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, potatoes, artichokes, topinambours and so on.

2)FUNGHI AL FORNO: Porcini can be baked alone or, more frequently, with potatoes. Potatoes and mushrooms are sliced, arranged in separate layers in a baking dish (starting with potatoes) each layer seasoned with plenty of garlic, parsley, aromatic herbs and EVOO, and baked until tender but still firm and slightly crispy. Another interesting option is baking single portions of diced Porcini in small earthenware pots, wrapped into chestnut or grape leaves and seasoned as above.

3)FUNGHI FRITTI: cut in large slices, dipped in beaten egg and breadcrumbs (or maize flour) and fried in oil.

In the continental countries, mushroom recipes are much moister, made often with a mix of different varieties and tomato-based, to get stews (to be served with roasts or game) or sauces for pasta or polenta. A "soffritto" with onion, garlic, celery and carrot in oil is made, diced or chopped mushrooms are added and gently fried and finally tomatoes are added and the sauce is simmered until it's done.
Another traditional recipe is the RISOTTO AI FUNGHI, made with or without saffron (the procedure is the same of all the other Risotti)

Raw mushrooms (baby Porcini or Ovoli) are served almost everywhere, seasoned with EVOO, few lemon drops, salt and freshly ground pepper. In Piemonte they're also served on a layer of finely sliced raw meat and/or thin leaves of Parmigiano.

As for dried mushrooms, they're very popular in Italy and are added (soaked and chopped) in many meat pasta sauces, in the filling of stuffed vegetables or vegetable pies, and in the "soffritto" of many meat but also fish stews.

Looking forward for more recipes!

post #5 of 25
Hen of the woods and Chicken mushrooms are wild here also....chicken has the amazing texture and flavor of chicken.
There must be cultivated Hen of the woods cus I found, cooked and ate them with MOMO in NYC.

Oyster mushrooms abound here, they go slimey quickly. They grow on rotten trees.....I have an oyster mushroom farmer coming to the market for the season, he should start June 22.

A dear friend has an organic log grown shiitake farm, that is narvana. Nicola has lost 1/2 her logs this year....10,000.

I love it when the old timers show up with a bag full of mushrooms and ask me to cook them up. With Chanterelles I combine them with tarragon and fingerling potatoes. Pork is a great entree with them too.
Morels and cream....add a starch and it's dinner, breakfast, lunch, whatever, whenever.
Chicken I grill and sometimes marinate.
Oyster, I will tell you when the new farmer comes to market. They have not thrilled me....not enough flavor so I don't buy conventional ones.
Shiitake, sauteed and used in oriental dishes.

There is nothing like taking a skillet, butter or olive oil in the field and cooking what you've just found.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #6 of 25

What a wonderful thread!!

Pongi and shroom...

You two have my mouth watering!!!I don't think a day goes by when I don't eat some kind of fungis (no jokes please:))

It's funny, Escoffiers classic methode is so simple, but with the fresh cepes..who can go wrong.

Cepes, sauteed with shallots, S&P a squeeze of fresh lemon and some chopped parlsey...Yum

Some love to say I use a million herbs and spices in my style of cooking, so I offer this recipe with less adorments, and truer flavor.

I can eat lamb for breakfast, lunch and dinner..and I love the flavor of lamb with the earthyness of the shrooms.

This is a wonderful recipe I do 3 or 4 times a month...

Boneless lamb rack with a mushroom crust and a leek puree.

2 leeks, trimmed of the harder outer green parts, split in halh, well washe and roughly chopped (be sure to clean them really well, I soak my in warm water, this tends to help)
1 tablespoon butter

2 oz dried black trumpet mushrooms (easy to find on the east coast)

1 egg beaten with a little S&P

dredging flour

2 boned out racks of lamb

4 tablespoons evoo

4 oz porcinis, trimmed and medium dice (if you can't find porcini's use shiitakes or portabellas) "won't be the say though"

2 smashed garlic cloves

2 sprigs of thyme

1, cook the leeks in boiling salted water until tender, drain and tranfer to a blender with the butter and S&P, purre and keep warm.

2, place the dried shrooms in a spice or coffee grinder and grind to the consistency of coffee, place them on a plate, beat the egg, and put the dredging flour on a plate. roll the lamb lightly in the flour, be sure to pat off the excess flour, then dip in the egg, and roll in the mushroom powder, pat the shrooms into the lamb, try to coat it as heavily as you can. then pop in in the fridge for a couple hours (intensifies the flavor and well as letting the crust set up)preheat your oven to 500f

3, heat 2 tablespoons evoo in a large skillet and add the porcinis,garlic, and thyme and saute for about 8/10 minutes till tender

4,place the other 2 tablespoons evoo in an oven proof skillet, heat on medium-high, when hot add the lamb, sear for about 2 minutes, then turn it over and through it in the oven for about 5 minutes (mr)

5, let the lamb rest for a couple minutes (do this with all your roasting meats), then cut into 1/2 inch slices, place a dollop of the leek purre in the center of the plate,top the leeks with a portion of the sauteed shrooms, then fan the lamb around..I always sprinkle a bit of salt on my sliced meats to really bring out it's flavor...

Of course, a beautiful Cabernet would go wonderfully with this dish :)
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
I just printed out your recipe and I'm still drooling! Gonna try it soon...:lips:

I need only to be enlightened about point 4 due to my poor linguistic knowledge: with the term "sear" you mean I must fry the lamb on the stove before putting it into the oven? If so, should I cook it on both sides or not?

Thanks again!

post #8 of 25
Thanks Pongi...

Yes you are correct, I should have been more specific.

When you "Sear"you are allowing the mushroom crust to adhere to the meat by forming a crust..after you "Fry" it on one side gently turn it to the other side.
The reason you don't really need to sear it on the second side is because you will be putting it in the oven and the heat from the oven will do the job for you.

BTW, A nice Barbara or Dolchetta would go wonderful with this dish (or if you have higher taste) orneilla,sassacia,solia,tignialla ;)
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
post #9 of 25
wow! CC, I am all about lamb. That sounds like a great recipe. Pongi, thanks for the info. on cep similars.

I find that I like to smell them before I buy them because there have been a few times where I will buy them and probably due to age or improper drying, they have almost no flavour...

I have found B. edulis a few times in the woods, but I have never eaten it from there. That group of mushrooms (including Boletus and Leccinum) seems to be especially succeptible to little grubs. I wonder if they are like shiitake's....better dry?
post #10 of 25

I'm glad you liked my recipe.

I thought I would dig this old thread up for you to enjoy.
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
post #11 of 25
"shiitakes better dried"????? Oh man you must not have tried log grown shiitakes...unreal flavor, texture is meaty, they are incredible.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #12 of 25
The clincher for me with fresh shiitakes is the intoxicating aroma. I noticed at a local store how people wrinkled their noses at the smell, but it always makes me happy and hungry.
post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
can't say if Boletus Edulis tastes like Shiitake as I've never tried fresh Shiitakes, which aren't available in Italy. If I must judge by the dried ones, Porcini have a more intense and complex flavour.
As you said, their main handicap is the extreme susceptibility to grubs. When you buy them, you must be careful that they have been just picked up and cook them the same day, otherwise it's likely you'll throw away half of them. I always clean, slice and pre-cook them for few minutes just coming back's what we call "To make them die", even if what's dying are the worms:cool:

Apart from that, their quality changes according to the place where they grow...don't want to seem chauvinist, but jugoslavian Porcini are almost tasteless. Here in Italy, there are fans of the "Chestnut tree" Porcini and of the "Pine tree" Porcini, which are the best varieties and have a different flavour (stronger and more aromatic for the Pine ones)

In any case, they're the best mushroom to be eaten for me, drying B.Edulis is a pity, unless you're so lucky to find more than you can eat (in my case, they should be tons:lips: )

post #14 of 25
Pongi! I don't think dried B. edulis and L. edodes taste the same! You must think I'm an idiot! I had heard that drying shiitake improves the flavour and I wondered if it were the same with porcini!

I will certainly have to look for some fresh boletes! Just thinking about it makes me hungry! I would have to say that they are my all time favourite mushroom. The flavour is just so intense. I enjoy them in a marsala and thyme cream sauce with a hint of lemon on toast. They are also classic with risotto. Ahhhhh!!

I found an Agaricus arvense (horse mushroom) in my yard today, I have never tried those, I am not a huge fan of Agaricus.

post #15 of 25
Log grown shiitakes are extremely different than sawdust or strawbale grown. Most dried are from China....poor cousin.
Pongi...dried porcini are all I get I just rehydrate and saute them with fresh buttons and then poor the rehydrating liquid over them.... Risotto is a shroom classic....Or shrooms and cream....what could be wrong?
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #16 of 25
Have you ever used Polyozellus multiplex, the blue chantrelle? I found a bunch a couple of years ago, if I remember correctly, the beautiful almost iridescent blue faded upon cooking and the flavour was not as good as the black trumpet chantrelle. Also, have you heard of the Telluride mushroom fest, or the one in Breitenbush?
post #17 of 25
Pongi, you mentioned Lepiota procera in your intro post. I found a whole bunch of Lepiota naucina (= Pseudoagaricus naucinus). I have read that they +sometimes+ cause a toxic reaction. Do you have any experience with this mushroom? I think it's common name is 'woman on bicycle'...
post #18 of 25
Familiar with Telluride, not been. I cooked and taught at NAMA when it was held in Mo. a few years ago. Have had a passing thought of going to this year's conference in Oregan.....gotta see where I'm at at the time. Saw my first Chanterelle two days ago...tiny little yellow orange nubbin.....
Blue chanterelles Nope not heard of nor consumed. I've heard that SF chanterelles are bigger but not a flavorful as Mo. ours are pretty spectacular.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #19 of 25
Thread Starter 
Lepiota naucina is common in Italy (the familiar name is "Bubbola") and I've seen it many times, but have never picked it up as it's considered, although edible, pretty ordinary compared to other varieties. Lepiota Procera, which is easily recognizable due to its typical drumstick feature (umbrella when it's open) is much better with its nutty flavour and fleshy texture. As far as I know, both can cause toxic reactions, but only if they're not properly cooked as their toxins are inactivated by the high temps. I have eaten Lepiota Procera many times without having any problem, can't say about Lepiota Naucina...
About Chantarellus: all the varieties are widely diffused in Italy. Personally, I pick up and eat only the yellow one (Cantharellus Cibarius) because to my taste it's far and away the best-at least those growing in the Italian woods. If Black trumpet is Cantharellus Cinereus, it has almost the same name here, Trombetta dei Morti (Trumpet of the Dead). Suppose that Blue Chanterelle is Chantarellus Lutescens, but I've never had it as it's not regarded as a good quality mushroom here.

Shroomgirl, of course there's nothing wrong in eating dried Porcini:) and we also use them a lot when it's not the season of the fresh ones...but the flavour and taste, although greatly enhanced, are totally changed by the drying process. Dried Porcini have an intense, salty and slightly acrid flavour, while the fresh ones are sweet and aromatic. So, in Italy they're used in a different way...the dried ones are usually added to other ingredients to give an additional flavour, while the fresh ones are used as a main ingredient, or eaten alone.

post #20 of 25
Pongi, thanks for the information! I am very interested in the taste difference between the dried and fresh porcini. I will really have to make a point of trying the fresh ones this summer!

I'm going camping for three days! I'll let you guys know if I see anything interesting mushroom wise when I get back!
post #21 of 25
Chicken sandwich with Porcini is one of the most delicious thing I've found in Italy. I bought it from a supermarket in Milano.
I have searching on the web to find this recipe but in vain.
Is it smoked chicken sauted with Porcini? or just spread with Porcini cream? Do I need to add some basil when cooking?
Pongi? or anyone knows about this recipe? Thanks!
BTW, amoretti have Porcini mushroom extract, I've tried it, it's good as an alternative when you can't get real Porcini!:lips:
post #22 of 25
Thread Starter 
I haven't understood which recipe could be your "chicken sandwich", can you describe it better?

post #23 of 25
Thread Starter 
I couldn't find any recipe for your sandwich, but since I sometimes shop in a Coop supermarket I'll try to find it and understand which ingredients it's made of. I'll let you know something!
As for "Crema di funghi porcini", we generally use it in hot dishes like veal or chicken Scaloppine, or as a Pasta sauce (best with short sizes like Rigatoni or Penne, or with fresh Pasta: Ravioli, tagliatelle and so on). Also as a filling for small appetizers like Vol-au-vents or tartelettes. If you like more spreading it on bread, better using warm croutons like Bruschetta.

post #24 of 25
Shroomgirl, do you ever come down to my neck of the woods for a mushroom hunt? I am in Iron county, about 2 hours south of the big city.

Found a beard tooth Sunday, battered and fried it for dinner. Not one of my favorites, at least not cooked like that.

I have an uncle who grows shiitakes on oak logs--I am always especially nice to him when I visit, and he sends me home with a bag or two.

My sister is morel queen -- we picked way more than we could eat last spring.
post #25 of 25
We gotta talk. More morels than you could eat in a bad hunting year!!!!oh my.
Who's your uncle? there are not many shiitake log growers in Mo.
I've hunted in your Pickle Springs, absolutely one of my favorite places in the WHole wide shroom world.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
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