The vitoria hatch
Today we are going to talk about a type of mushroom that is quite well known and is one of the most consumed and abundant in the areas where it grows. It is the Perrechico. Its scientific name is Calocybe gambosa and it has many popular names such as St. George’s mushroom, usones, muchardones, mujardónes, etc. Such is the popularity of collecting this mushroom that many of the specimens can be paid up to 100euros per kilo. Its normal price in full season is not so high, but around 20-30 euros per kilo.
This mushroom has a cap that can exceed 10 centimeters in diameter. When it is young, the cap has the edges rolled inwards and, as it develops and reaches the adult stage, it becomes convex and flat. The color is dull whitish-white cream. The cap is quite fleshy.
It has white lamellae when they are young and become more cream-colored when the mushroom is mature. These lamellae are numerous and tightly packed together. They are also adnate in shape and are slightly forked. As for the stem, it has a whitish color and is sometimes quite short. It has a central position and cylindrical shape, although sometimes we can find them thickened at the base, with a solid and pruinose appearance.
The perretxiko grows in meadows and forest clearings, in calcareous soils, associated with bushes, brambles, nettles, grasses, heather… It grows in groups, in a very special habitat called ‘perretxikales’ or ‘corros de brujas’. A single hedgerow can yield several kilos and more than one cutting per season.
We decided to bring out the full flavor of the perretxiko by combining it with sea urchin buds and a toasted wheat juice. By recreating a fish soup, with the toasting and leavening of the sopako bread, similar to that of the mushroom, we enhance the intense and sweet flavor of the sea urchin.
When collecting the perretxiko, we must be careful not to confuse it with the following toxic mushrooms: Amanita verna, smaller in size, Entoloma lividum, with salmon-colored slices and Inocybe patouillardii, with gray slices, smaller in size, non-fleshy cap and bad smell.
Tip: It is a very special mushroom, rich in aromas. And even more so when raw. Ideal for scrambled eggs and some aromatic herbs, such as basil, thyme… Herbs that enhance its freshness and flavor.
Perretxikos are a spring mushroom, whose scientific name is ‘Calocybe gambosa’. They used to be called ‘Tricholoma georgii’, but not anymore. It has more names, of course; the traditional Spanish one was ‘seta de san Jorge’, because of the time when it appears; the Catalans call it ‘moixernó’, and another Basque name is ‘udaberriko zizazuri’, which alludes to its whitish color. The truth is that, in Basque, ‘perretxiko’ would be any mushroom, as it is in French ‘champignon’, but the word has ended up designating, above all, this wonder that appears in the meadows around the day of the book.
The people of Vitoria, for Saint Prudence, eat them with snails. I have done it some time when I was in Vitoria that day… but I have to admit that I like the snails much less than the perretxikos, not to say with all sincerity that I like them very little, and not for psychological reasons, no; they do not repel me, they simply do not amuse me. The sauce they put on them in Madrid, yes.
Take advantage of it. And, if you don’t like Stravinsky too much… you can always listen to the first movement (‘Spring’) of ‘The Four Seasons’, by Antonio Vivaldi: perretxikos should be enjoyed with all five senses, including, of course, the sense of hearing.
«The current moment has prompted the launch of our ‘take away’ and ‘delivery’ services, a project we have been working on for a long time. We want to go further with our ‘delivery’ and soon we will launch a line of fourth range that allows customers not only to access products that are not normally consumed in a domestic environment, but also to enjoy the experience of cooking like great chefs,» said perretxiCo’s chef, Josean Merino, who recognizes that the health crisis «is a challenge» for the sector.