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Thursday, November 6, 2008

What a wonderful gift: a dish of boletus edulis

I spent the last two weeks wondering what I'd cook as a "surprise dish" for my girlfriend who was coming to spend some days at my house. The last week, moreover, winter seemed to have made its way to Spain, and I was thinking about some heat dish: a soup or a good risotto.

I then decided I wanted to feel at home: my dish would have Boletus Edulis as main flavour. Now, let's go and solve the first problem: finding good boletus. Here in Madrid (Spain), it shouldn't be such a difficult task. During the last week, the weather was favoring mush growth.

Well... difficult, it was. I started looking for gourmet shops and spent at least 20 EUR of gasoline jumping from one shop to the other. The best options I found were nothing but cheap: one mushroom, 20 EUR. The problem was the mushroom itself: I think whoever saw a boletus edulis in its natural environment before, would refuse eating that "thing". There was no option left, and I bought a couple of those micro-"boletus"...

I cleaned them carefully and put them in the pot. Where was that fantastic perfume evaporating from the mushrooms? I don't know. And I went out, going to pick my girlfriend up.

When I arrived, the big surprise! My brother-in-law's father is fond of walking into the woods looking for mushrooms. And two big, very big, boletus edulis, in all of their splendour, were waiting for me! I felt like a children with a new toy. And here's the recipe to serve boletus edulis as a side dish or, if you're really fond of them, to fully taste them melting in your mouth.

To preserve the taste of the mushrooms, don't wash them with water. Try to clean them first with the blade of a knife, retiring all the earth and only if it's necessary, quickly wash them without rubbing them too much below cold water.

Just heat some garlic in a pot with a couple of spoons of extra virgin olive oil, retire the garlic when it starts to brown, cut the boletus in thick pieces (about 2 centimeters), put them in the pot with some parsley and let them cook slowly 15 minutes, until all the water released by the mushroom evaporates. Salt them almost at the end and add oil at pleasure.

You can now enjoy a fantastic side dish with some good meat or eat them all as a second dish!

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