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A singular mushroom: gasparin

Every mushroom seeker knows that each of these fungi has multiple names, in addition to that related to botanical classification. Such names are generally given on the basis of the identifying characteristics of the fungus itself, almost as if they were nicknames with which the most expert use the most common and sought after varieties. For example, a very coveted mushroom due to the good taste of its meat is the Albatrellus pes caprae, which is also called in many other ways: bruin, heath tongue, tramp, or gasparin. The gasparin is easily recognized due to its side cap, which has a shape reminiscent of a goat's hoof (hence the Latin name pes caprae). It can be cooked in many different ways, and has the great advantage of being difficult to confuse with other non-edible varieties.

The characteristics of gasparin

To say, however, that gasparin can be recognized because it has a hat that resembles the shape of a little goat's hoof, which is a little cheap, to go in its search. Its morphological characteristics are the following: the hat has a diameter that can reach even 12 centimeters; it develops laterally with respect to the stem and generally has a dark color (from which the other name slang, bruin) and is covered by a cuticle. The stem can be up to five centimeters high, with a color that oscillates between yellow, white and reddish. The gasparin has very evident tubules, which can reach 5 millimeters in diameter, which start from under the cap and reach the base of the stem. The flesh is compact and odorless, with the color varying between white and yellow. Its flavor is vaguely reminiscent of hazelnut.

Where is the gasparin

The gasparin can be found in the undergrowth, in the period from the end of summer until late autumn. This type of mushroom, however, has become very rare to find, perhaps due to an indiscriminate harvest in past years. Generally it grows attached to the trunk of trees; even when it is found in the ground, it is most likely developed from wood that is below ground. In Italy it is known and appreciated above all in the Treviso area, where it is difficult to find it, and it is generally imported from Slovenia. As we said, it is not easy to confuse it with other types of fungus due to its almost unique characteristics. It could be confused, however, with Polyporus cristatus, which however is inedible because of the extreme hardness of its flesh.

Gasparin: How to cook gasparin

If still today the restaurateurs of the Veneto procure the gasparin as ingredient for their kitchens, it is because this mushroom has a very sweet taste, not only by those who are by nature an admirer of mushrooms. The method by which it is usually preserved is in oil; fresh can be used in many ways: for example, it is cooked in the Veneto style, with onions. A simple but tasty method of preparing gasparin is to sauté it in a pan with butter and tarragon. Alternatively, you can also eat raw in salads, accompanied with pieces of not too seasoned cheese. Gasparin, like other mushrooms, contains very few calories, while it is rich in water, therefore it lends itself to being consumed even by those on a diet. In the latter case, however, it would be better to cook it without using butter.