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Friday, November 16, 2007

Porcini (cèpes), persillade butter, and fried egg - or the lunch that wasn't


Freddy Fungus walks in the door..
No, no, this is not the beginning of a joke. There actually is a guy here called Freddy Fungus, he's something of a legend in town. I don't need to tell you what he does exactly, do I? His name alone is quite evident.

Well, Freddy didn't actually walk through the door this time. Instead, we woke up one morning and found a box on the front porch, filled with gorgeous, plump porcini – cèpes as they are called in French. There's a note inside, tiny scribbles declaring the value of the treasure within. This is Santa Cruz, the honor system still works here. Freddy will be by eventually to pick up his money. He clearly knows where we live.


What would I do with a box of porcini mushroom? I could think of a few things. Alas, the fungi – like many good things around here – were destined for the restaurant. I am feeling more like a step-child every day.

I managed to snatch one. Not the prettiest, but it would have to do.



I took a heavy pan, seared the thick slices of mushroom quickly in some butter, then make a persillade – equal amount parsley and garlic, chopped – and stirred it into the butter. I added a little bit more butter just for fun. The residual heat in the pan did all the cooking the persillade needed. Meanwhile, in another small pan, a whole egg was frying in – a lot of – oil, until the outside edge curled up all brown and crisp and the yolk still quivering.

The porcini went on a plate, drizzled – ok, doused - with the persillade butter, the egg nestled along side. Now that's lunch.

I won't give you a recipe. It's so easy it hardly needs one.


There's another knock on the door. My neighbor Beccy. I swear she followed the intoxicating scent from next door. Grudgingly I invited her to try a bite. Freddy brought some beautiful porcini over, I said, I made a small lunch, try some - lunch, I stressed - hoping she'd notice how meager my "lunch" was, and perhaps she might politely decline.

Oh well, never mind. I can't even bear to tell you the rest of the story. I'm still a bit miffed. Suffice to say it's delicious. All the two bites I had of it!


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