Mucchiareddi (Salentine)

Lactarius Torminosus

Preparation info

    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Honey from a Weed

By Patience Gray

Published 1986

  • About

Method

Varieties of Lactarius are to be found in the Salentine macchia which are locally highly prized but appear in Italian fungi magazines as ‘toxic’ or ‘emetic’. As we eat them every evening in autumn, I can only say: the experts are sometimes mistaken. Nevertheless they must be cooked, either on live wood braise or in an earthenware pot, and not in a metal pan. Nor should they be set on a metal grill. I use a resilient little Tuscan pot for them, and for other small late-autumn fungiTricholoma, Ramaria and Cortinarius species.

The largest specimens are set for a few minutes on live braise, then skilfully turned over and subsequently snatched from the fire; they will have shrunk a little. Dusting off the ash, they are turned about in a sauce (salsa endiavolades) already prepared in the mortar, consisting of 2 pounded chilli peppers (conserved under oil for winter), 2 cloves of garlic, fresh leaves of rosemary, cut and pounded, salt, and olive oil. (This wholesome method, undoubtedly ancient, can be applied to the parasol mushroom, Macrolepiota procera — the hot braise quickly reduces the water content of this large mushroom; and also to related agarics. under Rovelló.)

The smaller specimens, cooked in earthenware, make an excellent sauce for pasta (see Fettuccine colla salsa difunghi). The system is of the simplest. Pour some olive oil into the little pot, add the fungi sliced, a little salt, and some fresh rosemary very finely cut, 2 cloves of peeled garlic and a hot chilli pepper. Simmer on a low heat and, when the fungi have rendered some liquor, stir in a spoonful of salsa secca or tomato concentrate. Add a very little chicken stock to dissolve the tomato paste, and a little red wine if you like. When the sauce has achieved consistency, pour it onto the cooked pasta in individual plates.