Spring Porcini Salad
Since spring and summer collide when spring porcini are in season, I thought the salad should, too. So it combines the last of the asparagus and fava beans with the first of the corn and squash. Feel free to play with the vegetables to suit what's in season where you are. As for the mushrooms, you can substitute the large king trumpet mushrooms you see in supermarkets for the spring porcini. If a pinch, you could also substitute the cap of a really large cremini mushroom. It won't be the same, but it will still be good.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Servings: 4 people
- 4 porcini buttons, sliced in half lengthwise
- 4 tablespoons clarified butter or olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
- 2 pounds fresh fava beans, shelled and blanched, or 1/2 pound shelled peas
- 1 pound asparagus, blanched
- 12 small green onions, white parts and green parts separated
- 2 ears of corn, shucked and kernels cut off
- 4 small squash, sliced into coins
- Grated salt-cured egg yolk, for garnish (optional)
- Fennel fronds, for garnish (optional)
Once you have the favas shelled and blanched and the asparagus blanched -- boil both in salty water for 90 seconds to 2 minutes, then plunge into an ice water bath -- toss the favas with a little olive oil and set aside. Slice off the top 1/4 of the asparagus and toss with the fava beans. Use the rest of the asparagus for another use. Or add it to the salad anyway -- it makes no difference. Add the corn kernels to the bowl with the favas and asparagus.
In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the clarified butter or olive oil over high heat. When it's hot, sear the squash until you get some nice browning, about 4 minutes. Turn the squash pieces once, and salt them well as soon as you turn them. When they're done, move them to the bowl with the favas, asparagus and corn.
Add the remaining clarified butter or olive oil. When the butter is hot, set the porcini cut side down and sear. You may need to press them down with a spatula; sometimes they will arc upwards and you won't get a good sear unless you do. Sear undisturbed for 5 minutes, or until the cut side is nicely browned. As the porcini cook, toss in the white parts of the green onions so they can cook, too. Use a spoon to baste the mushrooms with the hot butter. Do this pretty much constantly so the round side of the porcini cook. Salt them while they are still in the pan.
To serve, add the green parts of the green onions to the bowl with the rest of the vegetables and toss to combine. Ass salt to taste. Portion some out to everyone on plates. Give everyone 2 halves of a porcino with a little of the onions. Grind some black pepper over everything and garnish with the egg yolk and fennel fronds, if using.