When autumn arrives, it comes … and we enjoy it with all its delicacies.
The woods this year have been as generous as ever. The prince of the undergrowth has finally arrived, almost overbearing.
The boletus, the magnificent porcini, perfumed as it has not been for some time, thanks to the water that finally arrived in copious amounts. Too much maybe, but chance (and Jupiter Pluvio) we do not control.
I chose a nice cut of pork from Caprarola with an intense flavour in which you can smell the fragrances of the Cimini Hills wood.
Everyone knows Caprarola for the magnificence of Palazzo Farnese, it was the centre of a duchy that Pope Paolo III Farnese had desired and created for his son Pier Luigi. A 16th century building that is actually also an urban experiment.
The ancient medieval village was ‘cut’ to pass a spectacular straight path that begins at the foot of the hill and rises, through the back-filling of valleys and thanks to 2 bridges, until it reaches the square in front of the imposing Palazzo Farnese.
But Caprarola is something more and its nature is just as lush as its architecture.
It is located within the Natural Reserve of Lake Vico that with the waters of the lake, the swamp and its approximately 1,000 hectares of beech and oak forest is a paradise on earth. Not to consider that there are another 1,000 hectares for hazel groves and chestnut trees that we all enjoy every day without knowing it.
And this is where in September the collection of porcini mushrooms begins and where I come to pick them up when I have to prepare something special for my friends.
And this time I thought of preparing them a nice pork chop, all cooked in my Lyon pan, the iron pan. My grandmother did not even know where Lyon was, but that doesn’t matter.
Use the same pan for meat and caps of the mushrooms to make the flavours interpenetrate. Simple ingredients to bring out the taste of the forest. Oil and garlic, of course Cimini oil. And salt all the caps without ruining them.
Simultaneously toast some bread without adding anything else. Then, when the chop is cooked, put the slices of bread bruschetta for a moment in the cooking oil.
Put the chop on the crusted bread just softened by the cooking oil, garnish with a sprig of rosemary and some fresh Italian peperoncino (the tropical chili left to the Tropics).
I recommend a little rosemary: you must experience its scent but it must not be too obvious. The Prince of Autumn is fresh porcino!
A simple but vigorous dish that deserves a respectable wine: a Syrah from the middle Liri. Palazzo Tronconi di Arce offers just about the best.