Autumn in the Basque Country is a time of many colors and flavors. It is the time to pick grapes in the vineyards, it is the time for hunting migratory birds such as pigeons and it is also the time to pick up mushrooms in the woods. A gastronomic combination that cannot be resisted.
The oaks, beech and pines forest have spectacular colors at this time of the year. Red, yellow, green and brown drawing a typical autumn landscape over the mountains. This is the moment when the mushrooms emerge from the forest bed. The queen of all mushrooms is the “Boletus Edulis”. It is a very appreciated mushroom in the Basque gastronomy for its rich aroma and for its very compact meat. The most recommendable thing is to gather it in its initial phase, this is the optimal moment to harvest this mushroom.
The Boletus Edulis like other mushrooms needs a temperature between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius and a lot of humidity. That is why the end of summer and the beginning of autumn is the time of greatest abundance of this species. In the Basque Country, going in search of these mushrooms is like a tradition and many people go into the woods to look for them.
If you are lucky enough to find them, the next step is to take them into the kitchen to eat with family and friends.
Personally, my favorite way to cook is to grill them with a little bit of oil and salt. Especially when they are in that initial phase and the meat is very compact. They are cut in more or less thick slices. They should brown on both sides over medium heat and they are ready to eat. Then you can add the yolk of an egg and some parsley. You now have a top-quality dish from the best restaurants in San Sebastian.
When the state of the “Boletus Edulis” mushroom is not the best. We can say that it is in a second phase the meat is no longer so compact, the best thing to do is to make an omelette. The ingredients are onion, garlic and mushrooms. They are cooked slowly, once they have lost most of the water, the eggs are added. The egg is left to curdle and is removed to a plate. As always you can add a little bit of parsley.
If you want to enjoy mushrooms in the Basque Country now is the time. And if you want to collect the best ones you will have to come to the forest with us. I’ll be waiting for you in San Sebastian!