Porcini mushrooms, also known as cepes in France or boletes to many in the English-speaking world, are one of the few wild mushrooms you can eat raw. They are deliciously meaty, dense, and depending on the variety, either mild or woodsy. I made this raw salad with spring porcini, boletus rex-veris, which are mild.
It is a terribly simple recipe, but you can only make this with very fresh porcini that are pristine — boletes are worm attractants, and many you will find will have teeny holes in them from the worms burrowing in. This is fine if you are drying the mushrooms (the worms crawl out and die), but I for one don’t want to eat a live mushroom maggot. Ew.
The recipe calls for lamb bresaola, which is a dry cured meat. I know 99.9 percent of you cannot find this meat, so use prosciutto, regular bresaola of some other cured meat that is not salami. Lonzino is a good alternative.
If you cannot get porcini mushrooms, use regular button mushrooms or cremini ‘shrooms; it’ll be different, but the texture is close.
- 1/2 pound clean, fresh porcini mushrooms
- 1/4 pound prosciutto or other dry cured meat
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion or shallot
- 1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 heaping teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- Make the dressing in a blender. Put the oregano, onion, salt, dry mustard and lemon juice in the blender and buzz to combine. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil.
- With your sharpest knife, slice the mushrooms lengthwise as thin as you want: You definitely want to get the silhouette of the mushroom in the slice, and thinner is better than thick. Shoot for about 1/8 inch. Put the mushrooms into a bowl or plastic container.
- Slice the prosciutto into ribbons as thin as you can make them. You want to make a nest for the mushrooms to sit on.
- Pour enough dressing over the mushrooms to get them well covered, and gently stir them around to coat. Cover the bowl and set aside at room temperature for no more than 2 hours.
- Serve the mushrooms over a nest of the sliced ham.