A discreet mushroom
One of the edible mushrooms that is easier to find in the Italian territory, especially in the northern areas, is called Tricholoma terreum. It belongs to the Tricholomataceae family and is small in size and dark in color. Because of these characteristics, widespread as it is, it is not very easy to find, and you must also be very careful in collecting it, because it is a fungus with a very fragile consistency. Above all, care must be taken not to confuse it with other species of the genus Tricholoma. The mushrooms of the genus Tricholoma, in fact, resemble each other a little, and can be distinguished only by small details. Some though are poisonous and can even lead to death; therefore the Tricholoma terreum must be consumed only after having ascertained with certainty of its identity, consulting an expert, or by contacting the ASL.
The characteristics of the Tricholoma terreum
First of all, if you decide to go in search of mushrooms, you need to know in detail the morphological characteristics of the main existing species. As far as the Tricholoma terreum is concerned, it is recognized primarily by its color, which is dark gray, often tending to anthracite. His hat is covered with scales, which give it an even darker shade. From this derives the name by which the Tricholoma terreum is most commonly indicated by mushroom hunters, namely moretta. Furthermore, the hat has a small size, rarely reaching ten centimeters in diameter, and never exceeds them. The stem instead can reach seven centimeters in height, it is whitish in color, and generally inside it, in adulthood, it is hollow. The hat changes shape with the growth of the fungus: at first it looks like a pinhead, then slowly it flattens out, and becomes umbonate in the center.
Where is the Tricholoma terreum
Tricholoma terreum has neither a smell nor a particular taste, but it is not recommended to taste its raw meats. In fact, it could be confused with Tricholoma pardinum, which is highly toxic and can sometimes lead to death, because it causes a violent gastro-enteric syndrome. The tufted duck is found in the undergrowth, especially in the coniferous woods, and particularly prefers pine forests. The period in which it develops goes between autumn and winter, and sometimes it can withstand even a large part of the latter, if the climate is particularly mild; but it is not uncommon to find specimens in the spring. If you want to go in search of specimens of tufted duck, you can keep in mind that its characteristics are already expressed in its name: Tricholoma comes from the Greek, and means with the hairy edge, therefore it indicates its hat frayed at the edges; while terreum indicates the dark color, similar to the earth.
How to cook Tricholoma terreum
Although when freshly harvested the Tricholoma terreum does not give off a particular aroma, except for a very slight hint of flour, once cooked it becomes very tasty to eat. Its taste is still rather delicate, so it is good not to put it in mixed with other mushrooms, but it is preferable to consume it alone, to fully appreciate its taste. It can be cooked in many ways, but the fragility and perishability of its meat make it suitable above all for making sauces and dips with which it is then possible to dress polenta or a pasta dish. To taste it in purity, you can quickly fry it in a pan with a little butter and parsley. To preserve the tuft, the best way is to put it in oil. Indeed, the Tricholoma terreum is considered one of the best mushrooms ever, preserved in oil.