One of my favourite food shops in London is near where I work. It’s an old school Italian deli that’s been in the area over 40 years. It’s there to serve the local Italian community and has the best produce at great prices. It’s run by an elderly Italian couple who run it with style – no pressure, no rush, if you want to be served you’ll wait your turn, but, when it is your turn they’ll take their time with you and get what you ask & make suggestions if you want them. They’ll grind coffee for you, slice meats, make sandwiches with what’s in the fridge – there’s no menu, whatever’s your fancy. There’s a stool in the shop that’s frequently occupied by one of the owners friends for a chat, or, one of the Italian builders working across the road who has stopped off to eat his lunch. It’s a little slice of Italy in London, an escape from the chaos outside the door.
Sometimes they have random produce, like today when I spotted a punnet of chanterelles in the fridge. I love when there are mushrooms from this guy. Every year in Autumn they have punnets of porcini and in the spring St Georges mushrooms. A friend of his harvests them and had harvested these on a recent foray. He was selling them for £2.50 a portion and had 16 punnets originally. There was only one left when I got there, I had to have it! I was unsure what to do with these, I already had several recipes in my head – frittata, bruschetta, pasta so I also purchased a selection of goodies, including: tagliatelle, speck, pinenuts. Within 5 minutes of leaving the shop I settled on a tagliatelle with chanterelles in a cream and white wine sauce with cheese shavings. I had forgotten to get parmesan/pecorino and we’re clean out so we used some manchego left over from our Spanish trip. It worked perfectly.
You can substitute any mushrooms you want for the chanterelles although I would suggest that if you are going to use ordinary mushrooms that you mix in some dried porcini to bolster the flavour. The more mushrooms the better for me!