Wild Mushroom foraging…in Tesco

I owe Tesco at least one autumn Sunday morning in bed. Usually at this time of year I drag my creaky blurry hungover carcass to the car and drive to North Wales at idiot o’clock, stopping at Rhug Estate for a bacon butty in both directions.  I set off each year hoping to overfill my basket (which I forget in the shed so use an ALDI plastic bag) with weird and wonderful ‘shrooms, gathered from secret locations, and end up with a couple of maggoty porcini and some dubious possibly boletus and maybe a beefsteak fungus which needs cooking forever. The locations are so secret that even the mushrooms don’t know about them. Ha ha ha; a £30 annual joke [on me] of petrol, bacon butties with the result that I’m cold, tired and full of maggots.  Not this year. A few weeks ago I found what I thought to be England’s best stash of porcini, in Tatton Park adventure playground no less. By the time they were identified as Honey Fungus (stupid gills not sponge) they were mainly very very manky.

And then as if by magic I’m wandering through Tesco and see a sign and I can’t believe my eyes. A sign that reads ‘Tesco Finest Wild Mushrooms’. And I go to the veg isle and lo....there are honest to goodness wild mushrooms. I’ve watched the foraging video and haven’t yet found any on shelf from Scotland but I have eaten some fantastic mushrooms. In each 100g box there are almost always Girolle (Belarus, Spain, Canada), and sometimes exclusively Girolle (Russia, exceptionally tasty), and there have also been black Chanterelle (Finland, superb), yellow foot Chanterelle  (Spain, least preferred) and grey Chanterelle (France, also superb and possibly my favourite). Although none of the above varieties smell faintly of apricots as freshly collected Chanterelle are wont to do (maybe it’s the gas packing) the Grey Chanterelle are most delicious and peppery as suggested by their german name, pfifferlinge (and the slightly more pleasant finferli in italian), and I cannot get enough. A single pack containing Portugese Pied de Mouton was another highlight.

I started by the plate full of hot oil fried, well seasoned, garlic, parsley, finished in butter, squeeze of lemon. I would eat them by the cooker and then pass the plate to lovely wife to give the kids a taste and the plate would not return. I started the oil with a a little bacon or pancetta and/or lardo until the indigestion got too much. The mix (I want to call it fricassee but that’s technically braising and I don’t use liquid, especially not
tomatoes which is weird) is added to eggs for frittata, pasta for pasta, cream eggs and into pastry for quiche or tart. I’ve also seen a recipe for mushroom bread & butter pudding which I haven’t got round to as Panettone bread & butter pudding (the undisputed King of desserts) is ‘in season’ and 2 b&b puds in a meal would be a certain gout bringer. I want to make more creative plates e.g. I’ve always loved Mushroom Manchurian but I just can’t bring myself to gild such beautiful edible lillies. Just as a real collector would do I check a variety of locations (different Tesco stores) hoping to find some Porcini (aka Cep or Penny Bun). No luck so far, hope springs eternal in the human breast…

Tagged with: 

Recipes, Lifestyle