• Posted by Califia Suntree on October 28th, 2006, 5:03 PM

    aside from the black-footed pig–which, it seems, most catalunyans can discuss in passionate detail–there is nothing that stirs up a gourmand around these parts like mushroom season. a musty rainbow of mushrooms pops up in baskets in markets this time of year, and folks get really. really. excited. there is even a weekly, prime-time television program called “caçadors de bolets” (the mushroom hunters), which is the most charming thing i’ve ever witnessed. i can’t understand a word, but the excitement of these caçadors needs no translation. (the show ends with adorable interviews of elderly catalunyans reminiscing about the great fun they had traipsing through these forests, digging up those prize bolets…) anyway, the most-prized variety is a large-to-absurdly-large bolet called a rovellon. the enormous ones are sold in slices (worms removed, merce); by the looks of it, the intact mushroom was bigger than my head.

    they are dusted all over with what looks like cheetoh-dust and lovely green blossoms of mold. and they taste like fungus ambrosia: meaty, rich, distinct. after sauteeing some up for a bolet tortilla…i got it.

    my host frascesc gave me a lesson in spanish-omelette making. this one serves 4 as a tapa or light meal with salad.

    mushroom tortilla
    1 white potato (about 3/4 pound)
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 small onion, diced
    2 cups fresh wild mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (the more the merrier, variety wise)
    4 eggs, beaten
    salt & pepper

    boil the potato until just cooked (not mushy). when cool enough to handle, peel the skin off with your hands and cube the potato. in a small skillet (about 8″ diameter), sautee the onion in olive oil until translucent. add the mushrooms and cook until they are soft. drain the liquid they throw off and stir in the potato cubes. season the beaten eggs with a little salt (& pepper if you like). reduce the heat under the pan to very low and pour the eggs over the vegetables, jiggling the pan a bit to settle everything. cook very slowly until the top starts to look dry and the bottom is nicely browned. (don’t disturb the eggs except to loosen the edges periodically with a knife.) put a plate over the pan and invert the omelette. then slide it back into the pan, top side down. continue to cook over low heat until the bottom is also brown. let cool thoroughly and serve in slices. (even better after a night in the fridge!)

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