I’ve been collecting fungi for a long time. I feel quite confident now in my fungi identification skills and I’m not dead yet.
Last year was the first year that we ate Boletus Luridiformis. This is a fine boletus, with a firm and velvety cap and rather startling bright red sponge gills. It turns a deep cyanotic blue when you slice into it and as it is quite poisonous raw, even the worm damage is slight.
As John Wright has written, it’s a shame that the flesh doesn’t stay blue. It does taste good and the fungus collector will have little competition from other people.
On a trip to Ferreira de Panton, we park up by our favourite path and keep our fingers crossed that we don’t encounter anyone else. We did once, see a couple with another fungus hunter, but they ignored the perfectly fine russula xanthodermas (Charcoal Burners). I expect they moved on to the more obvious hedgehog fungi, but to be honest, the russulas in November are excellent. All the more for us.
We discovered that the early hunter gets the other best russula (virescens) which smells of a good cheese when mature. If you wait too long, the russula is full of wormholes, so the early hunter avoids the worm.
Today’s risk was amanita rubescens. I’ve picked one on each trip out (sometimes daily) and today was the first time that I’ve cooked and eaten one.
I picked up my spectacles, checked the ring for fine grooves and sliced it and it was fine. It’s another fungus that needs cooking, as it is toxic when raw, but it was quite delicious in a revuelto, along with chanterelles, a small charcoal burner and two luridiformis.
Revuelto is a dish that always works well. You sautee the mushrooms until they are well cooked, make sure this takes around 10 minutes, then add beaten eggs and stir until the mixture is well scrambled. Delicious.
And I’m still alive.
One more memory from the 1960s. My good friend Feli told me another tale of ‘El Piloto’.
Her grandmother kept a bar/cafe in our nearest town (Escairon) and the family lived upstairs. There was a large wardrobe in one of the bedrooms, which stood in front of a secret door. One day, the wardrobe had been moved and the door was opened and Feli’s grandmother was surprised to see a very attractive woman, right there in the bedroom. Feli’s grandmother swore that this was one of the diguises of ‘El Piloto’.
Is it another myth? Who knows for sure now.
I’m writing this in hope that someone who lives here in the Ribeira Sacra, knows someone who can play the piano, to pro standard and who is interested in working on a varied repertoire, in order to do a recital with me, a contralto (Rossini, Handel, English Song) I live in hope and keep practising, with my fingers well crossed.
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