Seasons change, so do tastes - Wild mushrooms
You got a sense on mushrooming in my post A walk in the woods - Mushrooming.
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.
Read my post Tagliatelle with wild mushrooms to learn an easy and flavoury recipe with porcini and chanterelles.
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.
Have an overview of the inedible ones in my post A walk in the woods - Dangerous mushrooms.