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porcini carpaccio with grana, pine nuts, rosemary and rose pepper

I consider wild mushrooms the tastiest natural ingredients. And the porcini ones maybe the best of them.

ingredients for 4 servings (cost about 5 € pp)
  • 4 large wild porcini mushrooms
  • Grana padano cheese (I find parmesan too strong for carpaccios)
  • Salt
  • Pink pepper
  • EV olive oil (of very gentle taste)
  • Lemon zest
  • Some pine nuts
  • Very tender leaves of fresh rosemary

Culinary bibliography is full of reference to the risk of eating raw wild mushrooms. Some writers and also internet sites consider that raw mushrooms contain cancerogenic essences. In addition some others support that wild mushrooms may be contaminated by the soil or the forest animals.

So, I decided to search about this issue, as I am an addicted mushroom eater.

It´s true that in the forest where wild animals live many viruses can be found, but practically this danger is very low. The majority of those animals are carnivorous and only some omnivorous rodents may theoretically touch or eat wild mushrooms. And this problem has an easy solution as a fast and light passing with vinegar can help us avoid every problem.

About the second – supposed – danger of eating raw mushrooms I passed a whole day to find trustworthy relevant researches. I found nothing. Neither my bible USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) nor our well known CDC (Center for Disease Control) have relevant articles. So nothing about our question.

Some may think: Hey cook, why don´t you boil them for some seconds to feel safer? Not bad idea but I have already done it!!! The result was disappointing. The carpaccio was not as good as with raw mushrooms, the ¨fungus¨ loose their freshness and natural crunchiness even with a 15 seconds boil.

I – then – searched how they prepare their wild mushroom carpaccio some ¨monsters¨ of the culinary world such as the huge Alain Ducasse and the also famous Joel Robuchon. Both of them use wild mushrooms raw to prepare their carpaccio.

After all this investigation, I realised that eating raw muchrooms is no more dangerous than consuming ready sauces or conventional meat and I decided to go on with my carpaccio preparation.

The freshness of porcini is very important for this dish, you can imagine that, raw food is “naked” and must be of perfect quality. So if your porcini are not very fresh, don´t prepare carpaccio but something else.

The first thing we have to do is to clean the mushrooms and discard possible black, dirty or earthy pieces. We can also pass the mushrooms with a dump cloth with good quality vinegar to sterilize them from the bacteria.

After that, we cut the mushrooms into thin slices. Some cooks remove the stalks from the caps, I sometimes do the same. But the stalk of a very fresh porcino mushroom is very tasty too and it also gives me this micro-difference between bites, something I always search for.

There is no need to use the mandoline slicer if we have very well sharped knives. Knife cutting is never the same, something I also adore instead of that of the mandoline, which gives a more industrial look and feeling.

Moving relatively quickly we put the mushrooms to plates, we lightly salt them and we add a gentle EV olive oil and some lightly toasted pine nuts, .

We finish the dish adding freshly cut grana flakes, lemon zest, crushed rose pepper and very tender ¨young¨ leaves of rosemary.


Published in VEGETABLES