With its nut-brown, white-edged cap, pale stipe that is slightly larger at the bottom, white flesh, nutty flavour and alluring, earthy aroma, the cep (also known as porcino or boletus edulis) is truly the king of mushrooms. We go looking for them – with varying degrees of success – in early autumn. Fortunately, the weather conditions over the past few weeks ago were ideal for ceps: a warm spell followed by some showers combined with (my neighbour assures me), a rising moon. And so it was that during one of our walks we managed to fill our baskets with a few kilos of these delicious mushrooms.
Don’t wash ceps!
Here’s how you prepare and preserve ceps and cook them Bordeaux-style. First, clean them: cut off the bottom, earthy part of the stipe and just wipe the mushroom with a tea-towel or some kitchen roll – but don’t wash them! Separate the caps from the stipes, chop the stipes and leave the caps whole, and fry them (separately) in olive oil over a low flame for 15-20 minutes on each side. At this stage you can put them in jars and sterilise them.
To eat them right away, first I drain off the excess oil with kitchen paper, then tip them back into a dry frying pan and gently heat them up for 20-30 minutes. That will dry them off so they’re not too oily. Add some crushed garlic and continue to fry, then throw in some chopped parsley and, at the last minute, season with salt and pepper.
Ceps à la bordelaise
In our restaurant, we serve them on their own, with meat or fish or in an omelette, with a glass of good red wine…. Delicious!!!