Today we’re going to talk about mushrooms, mainly, the ones that the Spanish love to incorporate into lots of their dishes. Autumn is the season of change: vacations are over, we wave goodbye to the summer sun and warm weather, and we switch flip-flops for boots and sunglasses for umbrellas. It’s that beautiful time of the year when the leaves fall and it’s the perfect moment to pick some setas.
Many people are excited to get outside and search for setas and it’s often hard having to wait until Autumn to start the culinary treasure hunt. Others see this season as the perfect time to start mixing different types of recipes with these wonderful delicacies.
Here are 5 tips for you to embark on your own adventure:
Brush up on your mushroom know-how
There are so many different types of mushrooms in Spain, so it’s important to differentiate one from the other because eating the wrong one could cause poisoning or even fatality.
Your first trip to collect setas should be with an expert who knows the land and helps you identify the different types of mushrooms. If you see a mushroom you’re not sure about, it’s best to leave it there.
As we said, this is an adventure, a very traditional adventure so you should be aware that there are teams and mushroom pickers already out there, just waiting for the season to get underway so they can start collecting. You might find a little competition on the field.
You have to keep in mind that finding the setas is not as easy as you might think - it is actually pretty difficult to find those that are edible. There are different types of mushrooms in Spain, but the ones that you are looking for are hard to find because of the contamination and the destruction of their habitat.
It’s wise to go with proper clothing; it’s not hiking but it’s an outdoorsy activity where you will need to have the right boots and layers to keep warm.
When you start collecting the mushrooms, you have to pluck the core and leave the roots so they can have a chance to grow again. Clean the mushrooms well and put them in a wicker basket.
Where to look for mushrooms in Spain
- Montseny Park: From tiny to big varieties, this park is filled with different types of setas and it’s a mushroom hunter’s paradise near Barcelona. The first rainfall of autumn helps produce one of the finest setas across the country.
- Gorbeia National Park: One of the most well known places in the Basque Country to find them, it’s a great spot to start your search for setas. It’s a stunning natural park with mountains that surround this gorgeous seta paradise.
- Ultzama Valley: Near Pamplona, there’s a huge oasis of natural beauty filled with one of the biggest concentrations of mushrooms in Spain.
All your hard effort is going to depend on how you prepare them. The tastiest part is the top of the mushroom, so just slice them and put them in the pan or in the oven. Or you can also cook them on the grill with a light drizzle of olive oil.
But if you want to get crafty in the kitchen, you might want to find a recipe for your favorite dish. Here are our top dishes with setas:
- ‘Níscalos al Ajillo’
- ‘Mushroom lasagna’
- ‘Mushroom and spinach quiche’
We bet that you’ll enjoy the process so much that you’ll have ganas to go back and do it again. Just remember to do the necessary research and make sure you’re well-equipped with the right clothing, tools and professional guidance. Then it’s time to explore and indulge in some tasty autumnal dishes. Happy hunting.