Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fall Wild Mushroom Madness

It is a warm late autumn in Hungary: foggy nights, wet days with no real rain. Depressing weather. But oddly, the market at Bosnyak ter is full with fresh wild mushrooms. This kind of weather in late November actually is a wild mushoroom boom season, and we lucked out at Saturday's market on a bumper crop of Lila Pereszke mushrooms...
These are known in English as Blewits. They are one of the few naturally occuring purple foods in the animal/vegetable kingdom. Blewits are a mushroom that are actually slightly toxic - you can't eat them raw, and some people have an allergic reation to them even when well prepared. Just my kind of fungus!! But these 'shrooms had the stamp of approval from the official mushroom inspector who is parked in his official camper van outside the market,and after an official inspection he gives an offical approval paper to all mushroom sellers, and so when the seller told us these were FT 1000 a kilo (twice the price of regular factory champignon mushrooms but less than the price of any meat.. about USD 4.50) we caved in an bought a half kilo...
and oh my gawd... delicious, they were jaw-dropping amazing. Fumie smelled them and immediatly thought of Matsutake mushrooms, the Japanese specialty that brings in about fifty dollars per mushroom in Japan... they had a deep, musty smell that said "eat me please!" And so we did. Three times over the weekend. Our first attempt was a simple pasta with mushroom sauce: butter, mushrooms, parsley, black pepper. Heavenly.
Then we had breakfast of loosely scrambled eggs with wild mushrooms. There was some other species of wld mushroom involved in this dish, but by now we have forgotten its name....Later we made simple schnitzel (pork!) with mamaliga corn meal mush and a mushroom gravy. Absolute heaven.
This is what I love about this place: even though you can pretend to love the malls and supermarkets, the smells and flavors of the season and the countryside are still available to us city dwellers at our district markets. How could I ever live without my local market? Impossible! Bosnyak ter is one of the last of the funky old style open markets -"EU conform" be damned - but who knows how long this is going to last.

1 comment:

alexrat said...

At the commune in California where I lived in the 70's we would feast on these suckers after a November rain. I remember a violet like scent, but that may have been a color association.