11 October 2009

Porcini Season

It's that time of the year again when I awaken before light to the sound of my father- in -law  lightly clomping down the stairs to go after the big game like Cinghiale, otherwise known in these parts as wild boar, whilst the steady whooming of the oh- so -serious porcino hunters make their way to their favorite part of our woods to stalk the much prized Edulis Boletus.
Yesterday, it was merely 60 cars that I counted parked along side the road as we dodged the traffic going to the market not including the Torino taxi that we see frequently at this time of year. What started out to look like a lean year for the king of mushrooms, has turned into a bonanza with all the weekend warriors that go along with.  Today we had a woman off the road in her cycling gear proceed to make her way around our yard and when asked if we could help her, she told us that she was having a closer look at all the mushrooms in our yard in case they were porcini. Surprise surprise, they were not.  We did however harvest these two pictured below, form certain parts of our garden that I hesitate to mention for fear of over zealous stalkers!

When we arrived at the market, it was quite the mushroom extravaganza. Mushrooms on almost every stall and naturally a mushroom in every pot. Ok, may not in every stall or pot, but it was a fantastic display everywhere in the market. Mostly they were porcini, but there were a smattering of other less prized varieties, of which I'm not so sure about the names, but some of them looked like the chicken of the woods variety. As I came to this stall I was surprised to see that these were from our village Pinasca, that is where we turn off when we make our way back homee up the hill. there's a good possibility that some of these mushrooms might have evne been from some of those people that park along side our road and scour the hill sides. As you can see they were pretty well picked over by the time we saw them. If you note the price is €9.50 per half kilo or just over a pound. Still a little pricey, but much cheaper than last week, but nothing like the price of when you find them yourself.

Our friends had the good fortune to find some fantastic specimens on their hike today, up to Cucetto for the views.  Nice schroomy finds, pictured below, huh?!
Can you guess what is on the menu tonight? No, well, it's mushroom risotto and perhaps a side of breaded sliced porcino steaks to go along with.  I made a rustic tart the other night with big slabs of porcini layered on top of tomini cheese in an olive oil crust and it was so scrumptious, that we ate it  before I could even think about getting a photo of it.  A similar recipe that you might want to try if you find yourself in a mushroom kind of mood is my" Porcini e Tomini in pasta sfoglia" recipe.
Whatever the case enjoy some woodsy treat of mushrooms any way you can, the season is upon us.


Anne in Oxfordshire said...

How delightful to taste such fresh mushrooms. I remember in Paris, just looking the mushroom stalls, something unheard of in the UK.

Bellini Valli said...

On the coast and in Oregon they are hunting for the elusive mushrooms that bring the high prices. I have no knowledge of the variteis so would be fearful to try any I found locally.I need someone knowlegable to take me out.

Bella Baita View said...

It is a wonderful tradition that I am so happy to participate in as I have in laws and a husband that are experts and quite keen to track them down. I never use to go either as I was uncertain as to what was good or ot. Too bad the UK and north American hasn't gotten with the tradition. Probably afraid of too many people eating the wrong ones! C'est la vie....

joe@italyville said...

Marla, I'm jealous! The porcini's here are nothing like the beauties you have in Italy.

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