I’m in love with a mushroom, and I don’t mean the smoking kind.
Porcini mushrooms win the blue ribbon as the delicacy of all delicacies in my book, and I pretty sure I’m not alone. There are many types and qualities of porcini mushrooms.
But, as for my love story, Porcino and I fell in love slowly, and over time developed a mutually binding and loving relationship built on admiration, fate, and a tiny bit of lust. When I first tasted porcini mushrooms five years ago, I wasn’t sold. Now that my taste buds have matured, I’m relatively certain, I just didn’t like that recipe. Because, seriously. What’s not to like? The meaty flavor can easily substitute as a main course, or it can be used to compliment your favorite pasta or risotto. Porcini can be a side dish or an appetizer. I haven’t quite figured out how to make them as a dessert, but I’m working on it!
I realize how lucky I am to live in Italy, and even more so, Calabria, where fresh porcini mushrooms are just around the corner. In fact, one of my favorite mountainside retreats features a restaurant where every dish is centered around porcini delight, and they are, as my aunt would say, “utterly divine!”
Fossa del Lupo is currently my favorite restaurant in Calabria. In addition to the epicurean delight waiting inside, the owner lived in America, and always greets us at the door, with a “Ciao Bello” for Peppe, and a “Hello, how are you today?” for me.
And, it’s not an ugly place, either.
All week I had been craving (no hidden messages here, folks) porcini risotto. So, I had my dish selected before we walked through the door. Pep took a little longer to decide.
Since the restaurant was relatively crowded, and Pep gets a bit too embarrassed by my over-zealous photo sessions, I had to rush through my pictures with the speed of Super Girl and the cunning of Cat Woman. So, I didn’t quite capture the essence that is porcini.
The porcini risotto is the best dish I’ve ever had in Italy. It was so satisfying, in fact, that I passed on a second plate.
Pep didn’t. He also ordered a savory side dish of grilled and fried porcini.
Of which I finished off.
Isn’t he a beauty?
So, what about you, have you ever tried porcini mushrooms? What did you think?
In keeping with the delectable food theme of the day, be sure to visit Mary at Flavors of Abruzzo for this week’s La Buona Cucina Americana recipe … crab cakes. Yum.
Buon Weekend, everyone!