Eringi is my most recent discovery in the mushroom world. I saw it for the first time about a year ago and it was a love at first bite! I buy it every time it appears, which means quite often and more or less all year, since my eringi is not picked wild, but imported from Korean indoors farms.
Eringi (エリンギ, king trumpet, king oyster, saesongi 새송이, in Latin Pleurotus eryngii) grows in many parts of the world, but is practically unknown in Europe and particularly appreciated in China, Japan and Korea. Click here to see a program about a Korean saesongi farm.
When raw, eringi doesn’t have any smell or taste but stir-fried or grilled, it develops a subtle, inimitable aroma and the famous “umami” (うま味) or 5th primary taste. It has an elegant, delicate flavour and a meaty texture. Until yesterday my favourite and the only way to prepare it was simple grilling or pan-frying and serving it with teriyaki sauce.
Yesterday I decided to combine eringi with Italian pasta. Smoked bacon was a perfect link and a necessary addition for an avowed carnivore, and instead of hiding the delicate taste it brought out the “meaty” qualities of eringi. Since both parmesan and eringi are very representative of the umami taste, I have grated the parmesan on the top. The result was wonderful: simple dish with a complex taste. In my opinion it was a very successful intercontinental fusion.
I thought this pasta didn’t require any sauce, but if you think it’s too dry, a splash of good quality olive oil would be sufficient.
Preparation: 30 minutes
Ingredients (serves 2):
200 g pasta
300 g eringi (sliced lengthwise or cut in two, lengthwise)
100 g bacon cut into cubes
Cut the eringi in two (lenghtwise) and grill them or pan-fry in a small amount of oil.
In the meantime fry the bacon.
Put both aside in a warm place.
Cook the pasta.
Drain it and combine with the mushrooms and the bacon.
Just before serving grate some parmesan over the pasta and grind some black pepper.