My father is passionate of mushrooms. He studies mushrooms and collect them all over the year, so in our house we have always a lot of mushrooms. If someone ask me what is my favorite one, I would say with no doubt pioppini mushrooms (agrocybe aegerita). Indeed, perhaps I could thing about it for a second, due to the fact that also truffles have their worth… by the way, pioppini mushrooms are specials. It’s that I see a unique mix of grace and elegance in those perfect caps, velvety and small, which grow in line and very tidy. Do you remember the dancing mushrooms in Disney’s Fantasia? Well… I’m pretty sure that the great Walter was inspired by pioppini.
They are among the most delicious, fragrant and popular edible mushrooms and you can eat them with everything: sauce for a pasta along with some cherry, to flavor meat and fish, salads (try only pioppini seasoned with olive oil, salt and lemon) and bottled in oil are a real delicacy.
Here is a recipe only to preserve them for a long time so that they are always ready for starters and appetizers, alone or on sandwiches and toast.
Choose from pioppini the mushrooms most closed, thoroughly clean them, and if needed wash them (note that the wash is not counterproductive as will subsequently boiled). After that, make them into tiny pieces. Rather than cut them one by one with the knife I have developed a more expeditious method that ends up (in my opinion) to achieve best aesthetic results: place mushrooms on a soft surface (a couple of tea towels folded in two should work) after that to slice the whole thing using a big kitchen knife.
Once crumbled, made blanch the mushrooms for about 5 minutes in a solution made of 3 parts of water and one of vinegar. This ratio is enough to make the pH inside the jar enough acid to prevent botulinum toxin, at the same time you won’t feel too much the vinegar flavor. Once boiled mushrooms are stretched for a night on a couple of dish towels, covered by one of them. This operation is required to minimize the water content of the mushrooms. Once dried, mushrooms are seasoned with bay leaves, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and/or chili (I like to add also pink pepper) and placed in the glass jars previously sterilized. When mushrooms are in the jar add the oil. The choice between extra virgin olive oil and seed oil (of the highest quality obviously) is let to personal taste. Olive oil, you know, it’s tasty but can cover a bit the taste of mushrooms. It’s important try to eliminate as much air as possible from the inside of the jar. After this step your pioppini in oil will be ready when the ingredients are well blended (after about forty days), the time of the preserve is determined by the olive/seed oil that after a year might tend to go rancid. To me it does not happen because they end up before 1 year. Enjoy your meal!