Nestled deep within the Langhe region of Italy is a winery called Vetti. (picture from their website). This particular area is home to the King of Wines…Barolo. I’m still holding onto the 2001 Lazzarito Barolo that the winemaker gave as a gift. My Mama, Secundo Mama and I were there as we quietly listened to the way only an Italian can describe wine, “Dis one here is lika Mika Tyson, dis one here is lika Sophia Loren.” He asked what we smelled and all the cheesy American things came to my mind, “cherries, chocolate, etc.” And a voice out of no where from my Secundo Mama said, “I smell truffles.” The wine maker said, “Yez, Yez, you smell da earth.”
I didn’t get truffles, but what I did get was a lovely cook book after the trip from Secundo Mama called, “Italy in Small Bites.” And as I looked at the mound of fresh mushrooms from the farmers market, I wondered what to do with them.
I’ve been reading the newest cookbook out called “The Frankies Spuntino” and the authors talk about the layout of an antipasto platter and that pickled mushrooms are usually on it. And sure enough there is a wonderful recipe in the Italian cookbook my Secundo Mama got me.
1 lb fresh cremini mushrooms
2 cups water
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
15 fresh mint leaves
3 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Clean the mushrooms well by wiping them with a moist cloth. Bring the water, vinegar, and sea salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Immerse the mushrooms, and simmer for only 2-3 minutes. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon, drain weill, and dry on a tea towel.
Layer the mushrooms in pint glass jar, sprinkling the mint, garlic, and red pepper flakes between the layers. Cover with olive oil. Allow the mushrooms to marinate for at least 3 days before using- they will keep for months in the refrigerator. Bring back to room temperature before serving.
I hope when I opened that bottle of Barolo in another 10 years, I smell truffles. Until then, I’ll enjoy the mushrooms, the cookbook, and all the fond memories of Italy. Ciao!