Today, I’m sharing how to cook King Oyster or Cardoncelli mushrooms the Italian way: a very simple recipe with just olive oil, the unmissable garlic clove, and chopped parsley.

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Why Italians love mushrooms

Italians have a thing for mushrooms.

When fall comes, they start hunting them. I’ve accompanied my father and a few friends several times through the woods, especially in the lands north of Rome – the Tuscia area – to find those tiny earthy treasures to then grill them in an open fireplace. Hunting mushrooms is risky, and one should do so only with the assistance of a licensed hunter or take your basket to a local health unit for an expert to analyze the mushrooms and determine their edibility. But none of this was dome back in the day. Cooking and devouring your hunted mushrooms was instead fun and satisfying in a way modern times have reneged.

Nowadays, I still occasionally go in the woods with a friend who’s studying to get his license in search of Porcini – the more precious and also more easily recognizable mushrooms.

the last cookbooks

VENICE

The city of Opulence.

FLORENCE

The city of Renaissance.

MATERA

The city of Sassi.

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How do Italians use and cook mushrooms, and what kind of mushrooms

Sometimes Italians simply grill mushrooms; other times, we pair them with delicious creamy polenta or dry or fresh pasta or use them to top crunchy rustic Italian bread crostini.

The herbs that better pair mushrooms are parsley, mint, rosemary, and thyme.

When not hunted, we get our mushroom supplies at the greengrocers or supermarkets, in plastic trays, wrapped in more plastic. Champignons, the more common and used mushrooms (my favorite Italian pizza is topped with Champignons) are even already sliced.

But the greengrocer or the neighborhood market is where you’ll find more variety and, of course, fresher mushrooms. Pioppini and Cardoncelli are the ones I most often find here in Rome. That’s why, one day I was delighted with the plate of mushrooms I had just devoured for lunch, I decided to share how to cook King Oyster or Cardoncelli mushrooms the Italian way.

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King Oyster mushrooms (Cardoncelli) the Italian way

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Author Claudia Rinaldi

Ingredients

  • 8.8 oz King Oyster or Cardoncelli mushrooms 250 gr
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • sea salt

Instructions

  1. Clean the King Oyster/Cardoncelli mushrooms from eventual dirt. Usually, this is done by scraping the end of the stem with a sharp knife and brushing the rest shortly under cold water.
  2. Slice the King Oyster mushrooms transversely, more or less half an inch per slice. Of course, the more uniformly sized the bites, the easier the cooking will be because they will all be ready at the same time.
  3. With the blade of a large knife flat on it, crush the garlic clove by pressing your lower palm - no need to peel it - and transfer it to a medium pan with one or two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Turn on the heat on medium and brown the garlic for up to 5 minutes until golden.
  4. Discard the garlic and add the King Oyster/Cardoncelli mushrooms and the chopped parsley. Sprinkle them with a pinch of salt and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. I usually cook them covered and then check: if they are very watery, I uncover the pan midway for the juices to dry up a bit.
  5. Serve hot immediately or at room temperature later.

Enjoy your delicious, humble, nutritious Cardoncelli cookies!

Claudia