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Setas in Madrid


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For some reason, yesterday ended up being a fungally-oriented day.

In the morning, I bought two small bags of mushrooms--chanterelles and black trumpet mushrooms--from the mushroom vendor at the San Miguel market (in Madrid). I cooked them up for lunch. The chanterelles were much meatier than their US counterparts (slightly different variety, I suspect). The black trumpets were very interesting and smelled much stronger uncooked than they ended up. A bit hard to clean (lots of grit and critters in the crevices), but well worthwhile and a fraction of what they would cost in the US.

The same evening, we were out tapeando in Chueca and ended up at El Cisne Azul--a bar that specializes in mushrooms (setas). They had four or five different types: chanterelles, black trumpets, oyster mushrooms, and a few that I didn't recognize--one of which, I suspect was a "níscalo" (not sure what the English translation is). When I asked, the man behind the bar told me the latin names for the mystery mushrooms, which are now escaping me...

The mushrooms were prepared very simply--sauteed in olive oil and salt. They also offered sauteed flor de calabaza and watercress salads. Great place. Very low key. Next time I'll be sure to limit my mushroom consumption before going, as there's only so much that a body can handle and appreciate in one day. Seriously, I may be suffering from some psychotropic side-effects today from ingesting too many, because I'm completely unable to get any work done and have been relentlessly slacking off.

Questions for the experts:

What are some of your favorite mushroom dishes? And where can I find them in Madrid?

Are there any low-key Basque places that do those wonderful egg and mushroom dishes?

What are the different varieties of wild mushrooms available in Spain? And the seasons?

Can I look forward to morels in the spring?

Are there any good mushroom hunting areas in the Sierra around Madrid? Or do they all come from the misty green north?

Edited by butterfly (log)
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The same evening, we were out tapeando in Chueca and ended up at El Cisne Azul--a bar that specializes in mushrooms (setas). They had four or five different types: chanterelles, black trumpets, oyster mushrooms, and a few that I didn't recognize--one of which, I suspect was a "níscalo" (not sure what the English translation is). When I asked, the man behind the bar told me the latin names for the mystery mushrooms, which are now escaping me...

Thanks for bringin El Cisne Azul up. It looks like I must give it a try.

What are some of your favorite mushroom dishes? And where can I find them in Madrid?

Arce, Viridiana, Dantxari, Errota Zar are places where mushrooms are available almost the whole year round. Given proper conditions, fall can be simply terrific. We aficionados still remember the magnificent season we enjoyed a couple of years ago. A symphony of mushrooms which began by the end of August, if my memory doesn't fail.

My favorite dishes? Too many: from the simply sauted mushrooms with olive and salt to the rovellons amb butifarra (lactarius deliciosus with the cataloniana white sausage), amanita cesárea salad, boletus edulis sauted with ham, ...

Are there any low-key Basque places that do those wonderful egg and mushroom dishes?

Certainly not low-key, but with more than reasonable prices, Ametz in El Escorial usually serves a tasting menu built around mushrooms.

What are the different varieties of wild mushrooms available in Spain? And the seasons?

You can find mushrooms during the better part of the year, with their peak seasons in fall and spring.

Can I look forward to morels in the spring?

Yes. And to perretxicos and to rebozuelos and to the return of boletus edulis and ...

Are there any good mushroom hunting areas in the Sierra around Madrid? Or do they all come from the misty green north?

Yes, they are. Do you expect us to tell you about them? :wink:

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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butterfly, for a great book on setas in Catalunya and Spain in general you should try to get Llorenç Petras' book "Cocinar con Setas, recetas y consejos", by Editorial Peninsula.

It has a good introduction with most of the mushrooms found here with pictures, descriptions and their names in several languages, and a good deal of recipes from all around Spain.

Petras is the owner of the famous booth in the Boqueria which specialices in mushrooms. you will find him mentioned in other threads in this forum.

Silly.

edited for spelling.

Edited by Silly Disciple (log)

We''ve opened Pazzta 920, a fresh pasta stall in the Boqueria Market. follow the thread here.

My blog, the Adventures of A Silly Disciple.

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QUOTE

Are there any good mushroom hunting areas in the Sierra around Madrid? Or do they all come from the misty green north?

Yes, there are. Do you expect us to tell you about them? 

Ha, a girl can try... But I understand, really I do. Back in DC, I had a hidden little chanterelle and blackberry hunting ground right in the middle of the city. Never told a soul and it was mine--all mine--for years.

And where I grew up, we could find morels by the grocery-bag-full for a few glorious weeks in spring. Not sure how I would find them here, since flowering dogwood trees always indicated the right time and place.

Thanks for the book recommendation--that's just what I was looking for.

What exactly are perretxicos?

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Ha, a girl can try... But I understand, really I do. Back in DC, I had a hidden little chanterelle and blackberry hunting ground right in the middle of the city. Never told a soul and it was mine--all mine--for years.

And where I grew up, we could find morels by the grocery-bag-full for a few glorious weeks in spring. Not sure how I would find them here, since flowering dogwood trees always indicated the right time and place.

Thanks for the book recommendation--that's just what I was looking for.

What exactly are perretxicos?

Perretxicos are Calocybe gambosa or Tricholoma Georgii, also known as St. George's mushroom. It's a type of spring mushroom quite highly valued by many people, though personally I prefer morels. One of the most frequents presentations you could find is precisely with some scrambled eggs.

Regarding the hunting areas, I was actually kidding: I have to confess that I'm not a mushroom hunter myself. If you're interested I suggest you to get in touch with Madrid Mycological Society (beware that the English page is not that updated). They organize day trips to the Sierra to find mushrooms.

If you finally go and find some, I hope you'll invite us to sample them. :wink:

PS: Yes, that Petrás's book is very good.

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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For some reason, yesterday ended up being a fungally-oriented day.

...

The black trumpets were very interesting and smelled much stronger uncooked than they ended up. A bit hard to clean (lots of grit and critters in the crevices)

"critters" -- perhaps the added protein in your mushrooms was the cause of your side-effects :wink:

We purchased some cepes in a market in France this past month and when cleaning them found some had little holes indicating the possibility of little worms. We were told by a chef to cut the cepes up, blanch them in boiling water with vinegar (the vinegar kills any worms or parasites), dry them and sautee them.

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Apart from Pedro's recos another good option for eating mushrooms in Madrid is El Imperio in Galileo 51, depending on the season you can have amanitas caesareas, Boletus, Chantarellas, lepiotas... apart from unpretentious dishes.

And about collecting them, my choice for níscalos (lactarius deliciosus) is usually Cogolludo in Guadalajara province, about an hour from Madrid. For the more pretious boletus you have to go further and higher in that area.

Rogelio Enríquez aka "Rogelio"
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As some may gather by my username Mushrooms are a big part of my life. I work with a network of wild harvesters in the western USA and grow Shiitake's. I work several days a week year round at Markets in Califrornia selling. I have been welcomed into Truffle hunters homes in Peidmonte and a Porcini hunters "lair" in Tuscany because I carry photos of myself picking or selling mushrooms. Mushroomers are alike the world around. I have been following this thread with great interest and look forward to next Spring in Spain. Here in US we are waist deep in Chanterelles and some other's are starting up. Boletes, Cauliflower, Black Trompette, Matsutake plus many lesser varieties. We just finished a big bowel of Chanties saute` with shallots tossed over spinach until just wilted. I also dabble in wild Huckelberries, although this year has been a dissapointment. My "client " list includes several well known restaurants and sevreral really well known Hollywood celebs, and many foodies. Wild foods , mushrooms, berries, greens, etc. are the best foods in the world IMHO. Beyond Bio dynamic / Organic , nature determins the size and quality of the crop. The thrill of looking all day for that special patch, then hitting a great spot where you can return for weeks to pick is a joy. It is also a lot of work. Very rewarding work on many levels including financialy.

Happy Hunting,

David

David West

A.K.A. The Mushroom Man

Founder of http://finepalatefoods.com/

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Ah, David, what a nice life, that of mushroom and berry picker! It was mine too for a decade and a half, until I had to come to terms with the reality that one can't pick mushrooms and grapes simultaneously and I had to favor my second career as vinegrower and winemaker.

I still do the odd foray and I remain a member of the Mycological Society of Madrid, and come springtime I still collect avidly the tender shoots of the collejas, the wild bladder campions that grow on the fringes of my vineyard, and are incomparably tasty in a fluffy omelet; now, in the early fall, I'm still picking figs near the vineyards, some green, some blue, some a mix... But I must admit this is but a shadow of my former self as a rabid collector of anything good that grew in and around the deep pine forests of the Guadarrama mountain range, 50 miles northwest of Madrid!

From 1985 to 2000, when we sold our Ciudad Ducal house (ah, those autumns of 1987, 1993 and 1997, wet and rather warm, what tremendous fungal catches!), I walked or rode my Mobylette motorbike with my wicker basket throughout the Las Navas del Marqués area (alt. 4,200 feet), picking toadstools and all sorts of fruits and wild greens! (Local specialties: in the late summer and fall, blackberries and the sloe berries we use to make pacharán liqueur; in the spring, brook watercress and water minerslettuce, which in Spain we call pamplinas or corujas, and is highly appreciated in salads.)

A digression here: in general, wild fruits and greens are the best, but for a number of plants it's obvious that pruning and other cultivation techniques devised by man have enormously improved the product: without pruning and cultivation, we wouldn't have any wine or olive oil! (Or, rather, we might have wine and olive oil... but very bad, and very little of it.)

Enough of anecdotes, I guess. Let me try and answer some of butterfly's questions about mushrooms in Spain.

Ecological and climate considerations determine the presence or absence of fungi and the types of fungi to be found, of course. Spain has the most varied geography and the widest panoply of climates and vegetation in Europe, and this on a rather compact surface of just half a million square kilometers, i.e. the equivalent of four fifths of Texas: from Alpine, high-mountain conditions and vegetation in the Pyrenees and Sierra Nevada, to Sahara-like desert conditions in Almería and the eastern Canary Islands; in between, there are humid, cool Atlantic regions, classic Mediterranean areas (both coastal and mid-mountain) and even subtropical mesoclimates in Granada and the western Canary Islands, where we grow bananas, mangoes and avocados.

Even though two thirds of Spain is an arid high plateau, the many mountain ranges provide welcome relief, with much higher humidity and numerous forests. For mushroom hunters, this whole scenario is a boon because practically all the European fungi, from northern to southern ones, can be found somewhere in Spain.

There was a second boon until 10-15 years ago: mushrooms were really popular in only two regions, Catalonia and the Basque Country, and forays elsewhere in Spain could most often be carried out in blissful peace, with no competition from other pickers and seemingly a whole mountain for each happy collector. That's now over, alas.

First, restaurants made mushrooms much better known and appreciated throughout the country; then, Catalan and Basque pickers, fleeing the hordes that flock to the Montseny or Aralar ranges (as crowded a scene as in the Piedmont or Swiss mountains!), began organizing trips to other mountain ranges and forests, and 'colonizing' them; then, in a rather irresponsible way IMHO, the media began extolling the healthy pleasures of walking in the forest and picking mushrooms, giving some perfunctory advice on how to do it. It was made into a glamorous and fashionable activity, with dire ecological consequences.

So now we have crowded forests, ravaged mycelia (inexperienced pickers tend to destroy the environment which ensures the reproduction of fungi) and often slim pickings throughout Spain. Plus a larger number of intoxications or deaths due to the ingestion of such toadstools as Amanita phalloides, of course.

But still, there are better protected, less accessible areas, and for the time being both the availability of wild mushrooms in markets and shops and the possibility to collect them oneself remain better than in most western European countries.

If you're familiar with mushrooms in France, particularly the bolete-crazy southwestern part of France, that'll give you an idea of what to expect in the northern (and most humid) third of Spain, where the Basque Country and Catalonia are located: lots of boletes, chanterelles, and of course morels in the spring. (I've picked wonderful morels in the Sierra de Cuenca mountains in east-central Spain, much farther to the south.) Indeed, a very large number of the black truffles, Tuber melanosporum, sold in France today as truffes du Périgord, actually come from Spain: there are rich truffle grounds in such places as Catalonia, Aragón or Guadalajara where holm (evergreen) oaks are prevalent.

Then there are the more southerly mushrooms. In several regions, particularly the wonderful Monfragüe national park in Extremadura, the king of all mushrooms (revered in Italy, almost non-existent in France) is abundant when it rains in September: it's the Amanita caesarea or Caesar's mushroom (oronja in Spanish, reig in Catalan, ovolo buono in Italian.)

There are regional variants due to climate or local taste, of course. For instance: due to the warmer climate, in late summer the Boletus aereus, Italy's porcino nero, will be more frequent than the Boletus edulis, which is the quintessential porcino or cèpe; also, the large number of pine forests means that the Boletus pinophilus, porcino rosso to the Italians, will be abundant in some areas. They are all equally good in the kitchen, so no problems here!

Differences are also due to local preference. The Basques are willing to pay large sums (up to 60 euros a kilo), in the spring, for perretxikos, St. George's mushrooms or Calocybe gambosa, as Pedro has explained. (Called seta de San Jorge in Castile and moixernó in Catalonia.) And the Catalans revere a rather viscous, but extremely perfumed mushroom no one else seems to much appreciate elsewhere in the world, the Hygrophorus latitabundus, which they call llenega negra and can be wonderfully used in fine cuisine.

In Mediterranean, drier parts of Spain there are popular mushrooms that are far less frequent or appreciated in France or Italy. The not-too-refined but meaty, breakable and rather nourishing saffron yellow cap or Lactarius deliciosus, whose mycelia grow on pine tree roots, is frequent and much consumed as níscalo (Spanish) or rovelló (Catalan). (Actually, the Catalans prefer the rarer, more delicate, wine-tinted Lactarius sanguifluus or bloody milk cap, which is the 'true' rovelló; the L. deliciosus would be, properly, the pinetell - but commercially the name isn't used.)

Rovellons are not very much appreciated outside Spain (and, here, the Basques despise them.) Only in Sardinia, southern Poland and Mexico (it's the enchilado of Michoacán) have I seen it as an important part of their cuisines. But maybe there are other places.

The other Mediterranean mushroom of great importance in Spain's cuisine, particularly in Castile, is the seta de cardo or Pleurotus eryngii: the Spanish name means 'thistle mushroom', as its mycelia grow on the decomposed roots of a thistle, the Erygium campestris. Much more delicate and tasty than its larger, industrially produced cousin, the oyster mushroom or Pleurotus ostreatus. Attempts to cultivate the seta de cardo had failed until recently, but I've tasted some nice ones this past year.

I could go on and on, but I'll just summarize for butterfly what I used to collect in my little Sierra universe near Madrid, in a mid-mountain environment dominated by forests of resin-producing cluster pines (Pinus pinaster), with acid soils, grass- and thistle-covered dales (yes, great setas de cardo!) and many nuclei of oaks, holm oaks and Pyrenees oaks (Quercus pyrenaica; melojo in Spanish).

Late summer, early fall:

* Macrolepiota procera, the parasol. (They make great 'mushroom schnitzels'!) They grew up right in our small pine-covered lot. (They still do - I sold the house to a cousin, so I can sneak back in for a catch!)

* Also, the small surface of grass we planted around the house yielded (thanks to the natural fertilizer used!) an unexpected boon: the wonderfully white and quite phallic shaggy mane, the Coprinus comatus, our barbuda. It grows overnight and you have to pick it early and eat it quickly because in a few hours it'll turn into disgusting black ink. I used to have them with eggs for breakfast. A delicacy!

Fall:

* Setas de cardo, of course. (Also in the springtime, but it has to be a wet year.)

* Níscalos, of course: a la plancha with olive oil and garlic, or in a hearty soup with potatoes and some bell peppers.

* The tiny, but abundant and delicious with scrambled eggs, negrilla or Tricholoma terreum, the grey agaric.

* Not much of an area for the finer boletes, but the more viscous, less substantial butter mushroom or brown-yellow boletus, the Suillus luteus, if carefully peeled and cooked 'à la bordelaise', can be OK.

* In very humid spots, the intensely aromatic pie azul or blewit (scientific name: Lepista nuda), with which I devised a mixed stew with níscalos and some shallots: it's a spectacular mix of blue and orange mushrooms, so I naturally baptized it 'New York City mushroom stew'.

* No Amanita caesarea, but its more modest cousin the Amanita rubescens, the blusher or warty cap, is very good in sautéed mixed mushrooms (it must be well cooked, however.)

* No one picks the large, white, Hygrophorus penarius - Castilian ignorance about mushrooms! I found a small patch of them, to which I returned every year, and decided that if the Catalans loved llenegas, this cousin of theirs in the Hygrophorus family should be as good. Well, to me it's even better because it's meatier, and you can use it in the same recipes.

* Many delightful meadow mushrooms, the Agaricus campestris, of course. A big improvement over the cultivated variety, A. bitorquis!

* And several small, brittle, fresh-tasting russulas - nice when sautéed in olive oil with a little garlic! Particularly good is our seta de cura, the Russula virescens.

Late winter (even under the snow!) and early spring:

* The subtle waxycap, Hygrophorus marzuolus, which we call seta de marzo. A nice counterpart to perretxikos in our area. (This past spring it even showed up in Madrid covered markets.)

Spring:

* As mentioned, some years we find setas de cardo.

* Many fairy ring mushrooms, the Marasmius oreades, which we call senderuela (cama-sec in Catalonia). Very aromatic, particularly when dried, and makes great soups.

* In the late spring and early summer of really wet years, the only noble bolete I've collected around Las Navas - the Boletus estivalis (or reticulatus), Italy's porcino estivo.

Edited by vserna (log)

Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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Impressive post, Víctor! As usual.

My parents, who live in El Escorial, in good years are able to find some (allegedly) boletus edulis (the quintessential cépe, as you said) in the area. But the "area" includes part of the Sierra whichs belongs to Ávila.

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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Rovellons are not very much appreciated outside Spain (and, here, the Basques despise them.) Only in Sardinia, southern Poland and Mexico (it's the enchilado of Michoacán) have I seen it as an important part of their cuisines. But maybe there are other places.

I suppose it's not much of a surprise, but rovellons are prized both in Andorra and the Pyrenees Orientales. I think them a little bland if texturally impressive (they are very resilient and toothsomely crispy).

The Nicois also esteem sanguins, lactarius sangifluus, which, again, leave me cold.

I may well have missed it in the post above, but does noone eat Hedgehog mushrooms?

They are a favourite of mine and are growing in abundance in the UK this year; they are not much eaten in Catalonia, though, I don't think, so I wonder if they are eaten much at all.

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The erudition present in this forum never ceases to amaze me!

Just today I had a nice revuelto de setas at a little cafeteria down the street (Cafeteria Onis on Calle de Toledo).

Victor--

Thank you so much for your wonderfully detailed post. This will give me food for thought (no pun intended) for many years to come.

The bounty of Spain is a thing of wonder--and with so many mushrooms with which I am unfamiliar, it's clear that I'll need a very good guide (preferably human). I'll definitely look into the Mycological Society.

I am far too sensible to be one of those city-slicker neophytes that poisons the whole family (though it strikes me that there are much worse ways to go...). I plan to do some rooting around next week at a friend's "finca" in El Escorial--I'll post back on what we find.

It's interesting--but not surprising--that certain edible mushrooms are ignored in one region and prized in another. I suppose it's just a function of the diversity that's available--one can afford to pick and choose.

A few more questions:

What are the indicators that are used to find the morels in the spring? Are they found on felled trees at the edge of forests? Are there certain trees or flowers that bloom in tandem?

Are there any books that you would recommend about edible wild plants? When we've vacationed in Asturias, I've always been tempted to graze on the flowers and greens--even the beautiful sea-salty green hay looks tasty--but have held back due to my ignorance...

Any other wild mushroom vendors in Madrid that you can recommend (other than the aforementioned San Miguel Market mushroom stand).

Thanks again for the thoughtful response.

(edited for dangling participles and repetitive cliches...)

Edited by butterfly (log)
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"A digression here: in general, wild fruits and greens are the best, but for a number of plants it's obvious that pruning and other cultivation techniques devised by man have enormously improved the product: without pruning and cultivation, we wouldn't have any wine or olive oil! (Or, rather, we might have wine and olive oil... but very bad, and very little of it.)"

Wild foods yes , wild wines no! Vinoculture is the worlds most important asset IMHO. Without wine why bother leaving the house. You make an excellent point. As well as proving your prowess as a fungophile. We too have had major problems with the new breed of "pickers", even so much as using gas powered leaf blowers to remove all the mulch and leave the mushrooms standing alone. Of course that will be the last harvest for many, many years. The US Forrest service tries to regulate picking but they seem more interested in how they can make $$ then preserve the hunt.

Regards,

David

David West

A.K.A. The Mushroom Man

Founder of http://finepalatefoods.com/

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Any other wild mushroom vendors in Madrid that you can recommend (other than the aforementioned San Miguel Market mushroom stand).

I believe I got this list from El Mundo's Metropoli, which I guess is already familiar to most of you:

- Vázquez: C/ Ayala, 11

- Charito: Chamartín Market

- Gold Gourmet: C/ Ortega y Gasset 85

- Alzagorri: I suppose this is the stand you mention. San Miguel Market.

It's not uncommon to find at El Corte Inglés, both in their supermarket and in the gourmet section (Club del Gourmet), a small selection of three or four different types of mushrooms.

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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I may well have missed it in the post above, but does noone eat Hedgehog mushrooms?

Of course we do. And in Catalonia too - they call them llengua de bou (ox's tongue); in Spanish, it's gamuza. Probably more popular in the Basque Country (tripaki) than in Catalonia (big in Bizkaia), but it can be found as far south as the Albaida valley in Valencia, as far east as the island of Minorca.

In Madrid, my friend Iñaki Camba often uses it in his restaurant, Arce, where he always serves a dozen different types of mushrooms during the autumn months. My greengrocer in the Alonso Cano covered market had it last Saturday - at about 18 euros a kilo, I think. I bought chanterelles instead.

(BTW, sometimes Spanish cooks are so ignorant, as professional cooks often are vis-à-vis wild mushrooms, that they'll use the French name, pied de mouton...)

Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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In Madrid, my friend Iñaki Camba often uses it in his restaurant, Arce, where he always serves a dozen different types of mushrooms during the autumn months.

I paid a visit to Iñaki last Saturday night. After these mushroom-centered threads, it was unavoidable that I asked Iñaki to include plenty of them in our menu. We started with a dish worthy of an emperor, amanita cesárea on thin slices (à la carpaccio) with some just ground black pepper, salt, extra virgin olive oil and some non-smoked Idiazábal cheese. The assortment of wild mushrooms simply made in the oven with oil and salt came after, to culminate with the sweetbreads with chantarelles.

Sometimes Iñaki also makes desserts based on mushrooms, one of which is considered by my wife as the best dessert she's ever had. And that's a lot to say, I can assure you.

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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To vserna's erudition I will only add a little personal experience. I'm an urban type of guy but my father, now 75, is still a huge mushroom lover. He was to begin his yearly quest this week. He gets tired walking two blocks in the city but he can search and pick mushrooms for three hours!

Rovellons are his most usual fare but he also picks llanegues, trompetes de la mort, rossinyols and pebrassos. Trompetes de la mort and rossinyols are quite well known and appreciated, and I'm sure vserna can describe them but pebrassos are much less known -I've never seen them sold-. It's a whitey mushroom with a much stronger taste than rovelló, my mother is the only one who loves them. Llanegues, trompetes and rossinyols are used by my mother in the kitchen -stews, roasts- but rovellons and pebrassos are cooked by themselves at home -ah, maybe I'll have rovellons next week!.

Finally, my family is from the Maresme, just north from Barcelona on the coast, where there's a smallish range of mountains and it's more crowded and therefore difficult to find mushrooms than anywhere else, but my parents have always upheld that the pinatells and rovellons from el Maresme are the best in the world. Local pride or true terroir? I can't say but I've never eaten mushrooms in a restaurant as good as at home.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just use a soft brush and a damp cloth.

If the area is really dirty, trim it off with a knife.

Some chefs in the UK (including Gordon Ramsay) insist on plunging the mushrooms into several changes of water to rid them of any grit, but this just turns them into sodden fungal sponges. (GR also recommends adding raw morels as a garnish, so I think we can ignore his advice.)

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I agree that it is best to clean most mushrooms with a cloth and brush (like the small utilitarian ones that you can find at a perfumeria or hardware store--the kind that you might use to brush on olive oil).

However, this method didn't work at all with the black trumpets that I bought here. For these, I really had to trim them well and then rinse them off well with running water to get the grit out of all of the crevices. I then gave them a good turn in my salad spinner and dried them off as well as I could with a paper towel. Given that they are not terribly absorbent and more resilient than most mushrooms, this process didn't seem to have any adverse effects.

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Some chefs in the UK (including Gordon Ramsay) insist on plunging the mushrooms into several changes of water

O my goodness! The hallowed Gordon Ramsay! And I was complaining about Spanish chefs being fungally ignorant!

Following butterfly's comments - indeed, there isn't one single technique for cleaning mushrooms. Resilient ones, like chanterelles and black trumpets (generally, those that can be dried well and have little tendency to rot), can stand a stream of water well; a thin stream, if possible. Use the faucet in your kitchen.

Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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Raw Morels! Yuck! Why not serve that with some raw eggplant and boiled cukes.

To clean mushrooms is tricky and all are different. Morels , when fresh and firm will hold up to a little rinsing imediatly befor cooking. I spin dry mine in a lettuce spinner. Chanterelles if they are already a little wet will turn to mush if washed, if they are dry and "solid" they will only absorb water on outer edges and most of the mushroom will stay firm. Black Trompette will hold up to a rinsing under same contiions as Morels. Boletes can be rinsed as well but try not to get the spore mass ( under cap) wet it is highly absorbant. This is true of most all mushrooms , the gills are highly absorbant so try to avoid wetting. Any solid , firm fleshed mushroom that is not porous can be rinsed. Always do this right before cooking and if mushrooms are wet use high heat for first few minutes to coax the water from them. All this being said the best way to clean is patience and a brush and a paring knife if possible. Many variety may be "peeled" as well. I have one customer that uses a high pressure air hose to blow them clean and another that puts them in a net bag and vacumes them. My rule of thumb is if it is not a gritty or sandy dirt and wont crunch when eaten I usually can tolerate a little dirt. Wet, mushy, washed mushrooms can always be turned into soup or rissoto ( or any rice dish) if they are too wet.

Bon Apettite,

David

edit for content DW

Edited by dfunghi (log)

David West

A.K.A. The Mushroom Man

Founder of http://finepalatefoods.com/

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  • 2 weeks later...

In Rogelio's last digest, there's a link to Caius Apicius's article about the not that good mushroom season we're having this year.

He's right, after a promising start with amanita cesarea available at quite a handful of restaurants, the situation became stagnant. Let's see if the rains we had last week followed by the very warm temperatures we've enjoyed since Thursday give place to an improvement in the mushroom scene (even temporarily). Perhaps too wishful thinking on my part?

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just saw this topic, and am wondering if I can tag on - where can i get good mushroom dishes in Barcelona? I´ve been going to the markets and have seen beautiful mushrooms of all kinds, yet when i go to the restaurants, there are hardly any mushroom dishes.

Any recommendations?

p.s. - i was at petras yesterday, and i was so excited to see all those different varieties! mmmm..... :raz:

and oh, another market in madrid to check out is mercado maravillas. it´s one of the biggest fresh markets in madrid and i think it´s one of the freshest and best priced markets (i´ve checked out many markets in madrid - that was my fave past time when i was there in June :smile: )

Amateur cook, professional foodie!
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  • 4 weeks later...

Just for the record: I saw today at El Corte Inglés níscalos (lactarius deliciosus) at the astonishing price of 60€/kg. A couple of months ago, they were sold at 30€/kg at Gold Gourmet and that seemed a relatively high price too!

I guess it's just an indication of how bad the mushroom season is being this year and the shortage of supply for the most popular mushrooms as the níscalos. Other type of mushrooms, much more delicate, were sold at less than half the price of níscalos.

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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