I like to think I’m quite a hygienic person but there are some things I refuse to wash. Soft fruit for once – raspberries just get impossibly soggy when you wash them, so if wash I must (as in: not the fruit from my garden) I then elaborately spread them on paper towels in a single layer to dry as much as they can. Still taste better unwashed.
The same applies to mushrooms – try washing mushrooms and then sautéing them – disaster. Soup. Soggy Central. No flavour. Cup champignons are ruined when washed, let alone wild fungi – they are not so easy to come by in the UK so they need to be treated with respect.
I mean – if they are REALLY covered in soil, mud, virtually having brought half the forest with them – go for it. Rinse them gently in a bowl of cold water but then do try to dry them thoroughly on trays lined with paper towels.
But if they only have an odd pine needle or a clump of moss stuck to them, don’t let them near water. Get a pastry brush or a soft vegetable brush, several paper towels and lovingly brush off all the dirt and soil – and they’ll repay you with their flavour.
A very simple dish – good ingredients don’t need elaborate processing, and fresh wild mushrooms are as good as it gets.