Ah, the first day of autumn. It reminds me that somewhere, in some faraway lands, the leaves are changing colors and the air is getting crisp at night. Sweaters are being warn and in the kitchen cooks start to prepare different meals, fall meals. Fall has always been my favorite season and I miss it dearly. A heat index of 95F at 11 a.m... are you kidding me? This is not fall!
Unfortunately I can't ignore the high temperatures and high humidity and just wear those boots and jackets I'm longing for, but what I can do is start cooking my favorite fall meals and patiently wait for the cooler weather to make its appearance.
So to celebrate the beginning of fall I made a dish my mom made all the time when porcini mushrooms were in season, a simple but delicious bake that makes a great side for grilled meats. Porcini are a little expensive, but they are well worth the money -and dry porcini work great too!
POTATO AND PORCINI BAKE
1 pound fresh porcini mushrooms (or 2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms)
1 pound potatoes
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon marjoram
1/2 tablespoon parsley
Salt and pepper
If using dried mushroom soak in warm water for about 30 minutes before using.
Heat up a swirl of olive oil in a large pan, add mushrooms and herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium heat until mushroom are tender. Coarsely chop and set aside.
Using a mandolin slicer, slice potatoes to a potato chip like thinness. Grease an oven proof casserole and make a first layer of potatoes, slightly overlapping them. Season with salt and pepper. Make a second lyer of mushroom mixture. Then a layer of potatoes, season with salt and pepper. And so on. Finish with a layer of potatoes. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Cook in 375F oven for about 30 minutes or until golden.