Porcini, for me, are the God of all mushrooms – rich, heady, meaty, velvety and sensationally delicious. Once a year I try to book a trip to Italy where I can enjoy them at their best. Their season is summer to autumn and, although they are good dried, there is nothing quite like fresh ones. If you can’t get hold of porcinis, use a mix of farmed or wild mushrooms. Serve on griddled bread for a delicious light lunch or starter.
600g of porcini or mixed mushrooms
3 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 sprigs of rosemary, picked, finely chopped 4 sage leaves, finely chopped
Sea salt and black pepper
1 tbsp of red wine vinegar, preferably Cabernet Sauvignon
1 Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth and cut into rough 0.5cm slices. (Try to keep the slices a similar size so that they will all cook evenly.) 2 Heat half the oil in a large frying pan and add half the mushrooms, or just enough to cover the base. (Overcrowding the pan will cause the temperature to drop and the mushrooms will end up steaming rather than frying. That would be sacrilege!) Cook over a high heat for 3 minutes. Toss the pan, add half the garlic and herbs and a good pinch of salt and pepper, and cook for a further 2 minutes, until coloured and tender.
3 Set aside and repeat with the remaining mushrooms, garlic and herbs, finishing this second batch with a dash of red wine vinegar. Mix with the previously cooked mushrooms and serve.