Mushroom season has arrived and is now about to depart so I recently went hunting with my old friend Mrs McNeil and her Mum.
I have always had an interest in Mushrooms and have collected mushrooms since my late teens. When I had finished growing up in my late 20′s I even began to collect Mushrooms for culinary purposes. Something that I now do throughout the year. The highlight of the mushroom year is of course the Autumn and my principal target is the noble Cep or L. Boletus Edulis and other family members, around here that is commonly the Bay Bolete or L. Boletus Badius.
I’m very luck as my home is next to the Foret de Brouard a massive private forest owned by the Comte or some other noble titled person from St Aignan. Strictly speaking mushroom picking is not allowed but as I live next door and because I couldn’t give a damn whether a member of the aristocracy allows me to do something or not, I pick a modest amount anyway.
This year Mrs McNeil and my self where out and about quite late so we only caught the tail end of the season. I was pleased to go out with Mrs McNeil it is something that we agreed to do last season, she lacks confidence in recognising edible species but by targeting just a couple of gastronomic treats it was easy to demonstrate the distinct features of each mushroom.
In the space of a pleasant hour or so we managed to find a basket full and returned to chez nous.
The remaining decisions where what do we do with our prize? It didn’t take long to agree a lunch of wild mushroom risotto.
I thought about posting a wild mushroom risotto recipe as part of this post but honestly,
I can not see the point there’s a wealth of decent Risotto recipes on the net, a decent one can be found here. But my tips for success are;
- Keep stirring.
- Use good quality stock
- A frugal approach is to use a Gran Padano cheese rather than Parmesan, tastes great and most people can not tell the difference.
- Use Carnoli rice rather than Arborio, Carnoli rice has a better taste but you have to watch it closely the doneness window is very small.
Perhaps you have your own tips, if so let me know as, I’m truth be told, I’m a bit of a beginner when it comes to making Risotto.
The rest we dried, simple enough to slice and to string up in the boiler room, a week later voila a supply of dried Ceps, tasty and frugal all year through and just as importantly I got to spend a lovely day with some close friends