Well, this was an unexpected surprise. While shopping for a dinner party yesterday, I popped into Dunkeld Fruit & Veg for a few fresh and tasty things to jazz up a whole baked fish. As I was about to pay for my goods, my eye wandered back into the store and fell upon a basket of some oddly-shaped, familiar brown gems… Fresh porcini mushrooms!
I’d come from beautiful Cape Town – a place synonymous with pine forests and happy fungi-foraging hippies – and didn’t expect to see a basketful of freshly foraged porcini in my local green grocer. I imagine porcini fare well up here in Autumn with the late rains, hot days and cool snaps March brings.
The grocer told me that he bought them off a friend who regularly scours a ‘particular location near the Magaliesburg mountains.’ Sensing the familiar brush-off where Boletus edulis origins are concerned, I grabbed a handful and happily went on my way.
I served them for breakfast this morning on toasted ciabatta with a smearing of Boursin; a soft cow’s milk cheese, flavoured with garlic & herbs. I cut the mushrooms into thick slices and seared them in a hot pan with olive oil and a crack of salt until their gorgeous umami juices started to ooze out. In went some sliced garlic, chopped Italian parsley and the zest and juice of half a small lemon and finished it all off with a crack of black pepper.