Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ovoli Mushroom Salad

The always lovely Chris from Mele Cotte is hosting this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I've finally found these amazing Ovolo Mushrooms.

Ovolo Mushroom© by Haalo

The Ovolo Mushroom (Amanita Caesarea) is so named because in its early growing stage it resembles a boiled egg. As it grows the white outer skin (or volva) opens and this deep orange cap begins to emerge.

Ovolo Mushroom© by Haalo

They can grow to be about 15cm tall and have a delightful saffron coloured stem - you can see a hint of that stem in the photo above. The cap can reach 20cm in diameter.

A word of warning, at their "egg stage" they look exactly like their highly poisonous relative, Amanita Muscaria - the difference is only discernable once the cap is revealed. For this reason in Italy, you can only collect ovoli when their caps are showing.

I tried to find these mushroom last year when I was in Italy but failed, however, while in Bologna I fell in love with an Ovolo Mushroom Salad, which made me even more determined to get my hands on them this year. As luck would have it, amongst the many Porcini sellers at the market today, one also had a handful of ovoli available, which dutifully ended up in my possession.

When it came to making something with these Ovoli, the decision was simple - I recreated my much loved salad.

ovoli mushroom salad© by Haalo

Ovoli Mushroom Salad

ovoli mushrooms
celery stalk and leaves, very finely sliced
olive oil
red wine vinegar
freshly ground sea salt
freshly ground pepper
shaved parmesan

Prepare the mushrooms:

You need to cut away the volva and then gently wipe away any dirt and debris with a stiff brush - give it a clean with a damp paper towel.

Slice the mushrooms lengthways very finely.

Ovolo Mushroom© by Haalo

Make a simple vinaigrette by whisking together olive oil, red wine vinegar and finely sliced celery leaves - season with sea salt and pepper. It's important not to use too much vinegar as this will kill the flavour of the ovoli so make your vinaigrette with a lower portion of vinegar than usual.

Place the sliced ovoli in a bowl along with the slivers of celery and then drizzle over with the dressing - toss gently and scatter over a serving plate. Finish off with shards of shaved parmesan.

If you'd like an even more decadent version of this salad - add in slices of fresh porcini and finish off with shavings of black truffle.

8 comments:

  1. I don't like eating mushrooms but I love to collect them and I am always surprised by their beauty!
    Just last night I was at a new hotel opening party and they put 5 gorgeous baskets of the most tasteful mushrooms as decoration: a real stunning view for the eyes!
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cindystar/8036492471/in/photostream
    Your sliced ovolis are amazing!

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    1. love the display of mushrooms Cinzia!

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  2. Such a pretty mushroom. And I love the look of your simple and delicious salad!

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    1. Thanks Leaf - they are fantastic mushrooms and I got addicted to this salad, it is very deceptive.

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  3. Gorgeous photos, Haalo. I used to eat ovoli as a kid. We would go mushrooming or get them from friends/family. I wish I could find them here!

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    1. Thanks Simona - I have a few ovoli left, you'll have to let me know your favourite recipes for them!

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  4. What an interesting looking 'shroom! I have never heard of Ovolos and am excited to have them as part of this week's round up! (and not just because of your sweet words...)

    Feel better!!!

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    1. Thanks Chris, am getting better. Wish I could send you some but I don't think they would handle the journey - you'll have to come here ;)

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