Porcini Pizza

“The hills are alive . . .” with MUSHROOMS! I thought the harvest was winding down, but I was so wrong! We’re having a banner year, our mountaintops still littered with porcini. (Boletus, if you’re into Latin.)

An afternoon of foraging netted a few baby porcinis and two or three fine examples of king (or prince) boletus—the best of the best. I’ve had to find these fields on my own, with only vague references as to their location. People guard mushroom fields as fiercely as social-security numbers in these parts!

Ranchman was dying for “mushroom-something,” so I assessed the ingredients at hand and decided on pizza. While the oven preheated I cleaned and chopped the smaller porcinis (four cups) and retrieved fresh marjoram and thyme (two big tablespoons—we like FLAVOR in our meals) from the back deck.

Then it was time to saute everything while he fetched the cauliflower crust from the downstairs freezer. After cooking the ‘shrooms in a couple of tablespoons of fine butter, a (gushing) squirt of truffled olive oil, and a liberal pinch of salt, the mushrooms and herbs began to carmelize. The windows were open, and I’m surprised the scent didn’t draw our next-door neighbor or the local bears—one is a 500-pound cinnamon colored black bear, a VERY big bear.

With Ranchman breathing down my neck, I assembled the pizzas. Fresh bruschetta topping made from local farmers-market tomatoes, good-quality mozzerella from a nearby dairy, sliced black olives, and shaved perocino romano all but covered the crust before I popped the pizzas in the oven and made a salad.

In twelve minutes we stood in front of the oven door, looking at dinner, watching the cheese bubble. In fifteen I pronounced dinner to be ready, and we ate one whole pizza, saving the other for dinner tonight. This morning, though, I discoverd that Ranchman had reverted to his collgiate self and indulged in pizza for breakfast. Even though our season is already beginning to taper toward autumn, he’s volunteering to go back to the mountaintops for more mushroom foraging if I’m willing to cook them.

I think we can cut a deal.

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