September is here, finally some rain has come, and we can be excited about the mushroom season getting in full bloom! So the fall porcini are on the table! You may also know these fantastic mushrooms as ceps or Boletus edulis. I don’t know about you, but I have always loved mushrooms.
But I must say, the more I read or hear about them, the more I love them. Mushrooms just seem some magical food that is full of micronutrients, they can help with vitamin D deficiency, so they are great for people living in cooler and less sunny areas, they also contain calcium, so it’s a great alternative to dairy, and, of course, they are full of umami flavour, so you really don’t need to eat so much meat, even if you love the taste!
Umami is the fifth taste that humans can recognize, between the better known tastes – sweet, sour, salty and bitter. Umami receptors are activated by specific amino acids, that are molecules such as glutamate. If you are wondering why this interesting name, this taste and the receptors were actually discovered in Japan in 1908 by Kikunae Ikeda, a professor of the Tokyo Imperial University. The taste is something that we would describe as meaty. Imagine eating a meat broth. There are some specific foods that contain this umami taste, not only meat. Parmigiano reggiano, tomato, soy sauce and, yes, mushrooms, like shiitake mushrooms, or in our case porcini mushrooms also have this meatiness.
Latvians are not only arduous mushroom lovers, we also like to go to the woods ourselves to gather mushrooms too! It’s a great way to get out in the wild, breathe some air, and just have fun. But, of course, the markets are also full, so no need to worry yourself. I hope you also have some access to mushrooms, wherever you live, dear gastronome friend!
So here is a little easy recipe for you to prepare the boletus edulis, baravikas in Latvian.
If you want to see another fantastic recipe for mushrooms, try this chanterelle pasta! You will absolutely love it, because it’s incredibly easy and flavourful!
Porcini mushrooms with capers
- 1 kg porcini mushrooms
- 1 tsp anchovy paste
- 1 medium size onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp caper flowers if salted, keep them in a water bowl for 10min before adding
- ½ glass dry white wine
- some grated parmigiano reggiano or pecorino
- some fresh herbs, like dill or parsley
- Chop the onions and the garlic. In the meantime preheat some extra virgin olive oil in the pan. On a medium heat sauté the onion and garlic until they become a bit transparent. Don’t brown them! Add the anchovy paste.
- Cut the porcini mushrooms in slices, they don’t have to be too thin, you want to feel the flavour once you bite one! Add them to the pan and cook on medium heat for 10 min.
- Add the caper flowers and the wine, raise the heat just for a moment until the wine alcohol has evaporated and then turn the heat back down and cook with the lid on to keep in the moisture. Occasionally stir and check how soft the mushrooms are.
- After about 15 min the mushrooms should already have a nice texture, try them and see if you like it or cook them a bit more. You may adjust the salt just a little, but in reality this recipe doesn’t really need any extra salt, as the anchovies, capers and the grated cheese are already salty enough.
- Once the mushrooms are at the consistency you like, turn off the heat and sprinkle the grated cheese and stir it in while everything is hot to create a creamy texture.
- Serve with the freshly chopped herbs.