In Italy, the best dishes uses the finest ingredients in simple ways that show off just how good they are. That’s the secret behind this mushroom salad, which features only celery and parsley in addition to the mushrooms. Salt, pepper, oil and lemon juice dress it, and you’re set.
The best mushrooms, according to Jacob Kenedy in “Bocca Cookbook” (Bloomsbury, $45), would be seasonal favorites you find in Italian markets during the spring and fall, but the success of the recipe is not dependent on that.
“Ovoli mushrooms, Amanita caesarea, have a delicate taste and are wonderful,” he writes. “Picked young, as the bright orange cap emerges from its white sarcophagus, they look just like hatching eggs. To say they are hard to find would be a gross understatement, but other mushrooms can make this salad just as good. In particular, porchini (also known as ceps), if young and firm, are delicious raw; even the humble cremini mushroom would make this a pleasaing dish.”
Raw Mushroom Salad with Celery
1/2 pound ovoli, porcini or cremini mushrooms, no more than 2 1/2 inches long
4 ribs celery
Leaves from 3 to 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice, or a little more to taste
Clean any dirt from the bases of the mushrooms with a pairing knife, and wipe the caps gently with a damp cloth, if necessary — don’t wash them. Slice them finely, around 1/8-inch thick, and also slice the celery ribs on the bias to around the same thickness.
Spread the celery and mushrooms thinly on a plate, scatter with the parsley leaves, salt and pepper to taste, then drizzle with the olive oil and lemon. Serve quickly, before the salt draws the juices from the vegetables and leaves the salad wet and limp.
Makes 4 starter servings or 2 main course servings.
From “Bocca Cookbook” by Jacob Kenedy