When it rains everyone begins to start counting the days until there should be Funghi (wild mushrooms to pick. Unless the wind swings round to the north or it suddenly gets very hot ten days after a good downpour the woods and hills are filled with people with baskets. They are up at the crack of dawn; there is a lot of competition!
Foraging for food is still a very common practice in this part of Italy – very soon it will be chestnuts when it is dangerous driving on the roads for the number of food hunters bent over collecting the chestnuts that have fallen from the trees onto the public road and therefore available for harvesting by anyone who is brave enough to share the road with the speeding cars.
Last weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to dinner by friends who had just returned from a successful morning’s collecting.
We had raw porcini (ceps or penny bun or its Latin name is Boletus edulis) and raw ovoli (Amanita caesarea – Cesear’s mushroom to as an antipasto. Sorry, no image of this; it was eaten too quickly!
Followed by a fried Parasol Macrolepiota procera.
The main dish was roasted potatoes with the caps of the enormous porcini cooked on top so that all the delicious flavours dripped down onto the absorbent potatoes. The caps were studded with a shards of garlic and seasoned with salt and pepper and the magic ingredient a sprinkle of dried fennel flowers.
A wonderful meal was rounded off with roasted chestnuts!
Thank you Lidia and Giuliano