Friday, August 04, 2006

En La Tierra de Los Hongos y Setas, Parte 1

July, 2006
On recent visits to the Pátzcuaro mercado, I was impressed by the heaps of
setas y hongos on offer. I had very little knowledge of their names, properties, and especially how to cook them. I started out by buying some of the bright, orange-skinned setas on the left of the pile in the photo; those are "Orejas de Perro" or "Trompas de Puerco". Although I had a few doubts about their safety, I consulted experts "Esperanza" of, and our friend Sr. Alfredo Río Mora, an agronomist, hotelier, and aficionado of regional, indigenous plant foods.

After three days of procrastination, I cleaned up the Trompas and cut them into cubes. I then sauteed them in olive oil with several whole cloves of garlic and some chopped onion, as well as one chopped serrano chile. (In the end, that one chile made it almost too picante.) A splash of dry white wine, juice of one lime; stirring until it evaporates, salt and pepper, and some chopped parsley; salt and pepper. When the mushrooms were tender, I added some of the cooking liquid from one cup of plainly cooked alubias blancas.

(During my Internet research, I learned that these particular wild mushrooms were known as "Lobster Mushrooms" in the United States.)

Meanwhile, well along in pursuing my new wild mushroom interests, I was told of the excellent web log, "El Perro Bailarín", which covered this topic in the very same mercado, in an October, 2004 entry.
The cooked alubias blancas were folded into the the sauteed hongos, then a cup or so of crema (creme fraiche) added, to mute the sting of the chile serrano and enrich the whole.

I finished by topping some Barilla spaghetti, cooked al dente, and we each added grated Queso Reggianito to taste. It was rico.

Parte 2: Cocinamos con Cuitlacoche y otras setas.