Oil-Pickled Scarlet Elf Cups
This traditional Italian method of pickling works for all kinds of mushrooms, but is the perfect way to preserve a good haul of pretty scarlet elf cups. Blanching them briefly in vinegar helps to keep the fungi’s vibrant colour, while steeping them in oil gives them a soft, velvety texture. It’s important to use a good quality vinegar, and even more so a good quality oil – it really affects the flavour of the mushrooms. Serve as an part of an antipasto platter, stirred into pasta, with bread and cheese, or as a garnish. The slight tang of vinegar makes them good with fish.
- 350g scarlet elf cups
- 750ml good quality cider or white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 10 black peppercorns
- 1 strip of orange peel
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Cold-pressed rapeseed oil to cover (around 300ml)
- Clean the scarlet elf cups using a small brush to remove any dirt or detritus. Wipe away any mud using dampened kitchen paper. Stubborn, dried-on mud and moss may need to be scraped or even cut away with a sharp knife. Trim away any tough stems and set the mushrooms aside.
- Put the vinegar into a large pan with the coriander seeds, peppercorns, orange peel and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer gently for 10 minutes to infuse.
- Strain the vinegar into a jug and then pour it back into the pan. Discard the spices, orange peel and bay leaf.
- Bring the vinegar back up to the boil, add the salt and the mushrooms and bring back up to the boil again. Simmer for 3 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft but still holding their shape.
- The mushrooms are now sterilised, so avoid touching them with your hands. Using a slotted spoon, lift the mushrooms out of the vinegar and lay them on a clean tea towel or some kitchen paper to drain and cool for about 30 minutes.
- Using a clean spoon, put a layer of mushrooms into a sterilised 200ml jar and pour over enough oil to cover. Repeat this until the jar is full, then fill the other jar in the same way. Fasten the lids tightly and store for 1 month before using.
- The jars should keep for a couple of months, but once opened should be stored in the fridge and used up quickly. Alway ensure the mushrooms are fully submerged in the oil.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK