However, while taking a walk in the forest, you would probably notice that there are plenty of different mushrooms. Which ones are edible? Which ones are poisonous or toxic? Good question! I will talk about three varieties of mushrooms, that I well know since my childhood and that are part of the cooking tradition of my family. Take a peek to a good specialized book to have a complete overview and remember to collect only mushrooms you know and, if in doubt, to ask an expert before eating!
Porcino (Boletus Edulis): simply the king! Has a brown convex cap (spherical when young, large when mature), pores underneath the cap and a thick white stipe with light reticulation pattern. Has a really good, peculiar smell and a sweet, nutty, aromatic taste. Grows in deciduous and coniferous forests and tree plantations, often near to big trees or oaks, or among grasses. I love to eat porcini raw, like carpaccio. Cooked in oil, garlic and parsley (often mixed with other species) become a super-sauce for pasta or risotto. I also experimented porcini burger (veggie) by lightly grilling larger caps. A great success! Did you know? Its German name Steinpilz means rock-mushroom.
Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius): colour and aroma. It is bright yellow and fleshy, button-shaped when young and funnel-shaped when mature. Underneath the smooth cap has gill-like ridges. The aroma is fruity and spicy, a juicy pleasure for your taste buds! Chanterelles usually grow in clusters in coniferous forests, among grasses and mosses. Browned in oil, garlic and parsley are a perfect seasoning for pasta or risotto, while paired with polenta and cheese represent a typical main dish. Did you know? Its German name Pfifferling means spicy.
Parasol mushroom (Macrolepiota procera): the veggie cutlet.
The cap is spherical when immature and very large and flat when mature (reaches to 30 cm of diameter!), with a velvet white dove surface characterized by a snakeskin-like pattern. Underneath the cap presents white to pale pink gills, a tall and thin stipe (not edible because too hard and fibrous) and a movable white ring. The aroma is definitely nutty, while flesh is tender and aromatic.It is a common species on well-drained soils. It is found solitary or in groups and fairy rings in pastures and occasionally in woodland.
I always prepare it like a cutlet, since when fried it is a good alternative to meat. You could serve a surprising veggie burger to your family or guests!
These some of the most common mushrooms, that I like to collect and cook.