Turkish Recipes: Çintar Mushrooms On Toast

While it sometimes gives us a bit of a shock reminder that another year has passed, the cycle of nature also has a certain reassuring quality, especially when it comes to seasonal food in Turkey. Bar freaks of weather, our favourite seasonal produce appears and disappears from the Fethiye markets pretty much as we expect it to and, at certain times of the year, we can look forward to that first sighting of our particular favourites.

November is one such month. For fruit lovers, pomegranates (my favourite) are in their prime, but also at this time of year, the pine forests of the Fethiye region are blessed with the growth of the fabulous fungus that is the çintar mushroom (also known as lactarius deliciosus or the Saffron Milk Cap). We had that exciting first sighting of the çintar mushroom at Patlangıç market on Saturday but we just had too much to carry, so yesterday, we headed to Fethiye market with a mission. We wanted çintar mushrooms.

Turkish Food - Çintar Mushrooms At Fethiye Market

The Beautiful çintar mushroom, lactarius delicosus, saffron milk cap

Although not all of the stalls were present (it’s Kurban Bayram) we were lucky enough to find a couple selling their bounty of this sought-after mushroom. These stalls are easy to spot; just look for the crowd of people nudging each other out of the way to get the pick of the mushrooms from a cardboard box or crate. We joined in the nudging and bought our half kilo for a fantastic 2.5 TL (less than £1).

Last year, we experimented with the çintar mushroom by making a spinach and mushroom risotto. And, continuing the spinach theme, we also did a more Turkish recipe for çintar mushroom and spinach böreği. Both were perfect celebrations of this mushroom, but this season we want to experiment further. Here’s what we came up with for lunch:

Ekmek üstü çintar mantarı (Mushrooms on toast)

The çintar mushroom has not passed our lips in just under a year – so today, we wanted to just appreciate the texture and the flavour of the mushroom and remind ourselves why we love this mushroom so much. Nothing too complicated. (This recipe serves 2)

Çintar Mushrooms

Gently fry your çintar mushrooms

Before starting, wash your mushrooms, pat them dry and then leave them to dry for a further 30 minutes or so as çintar are really absorbent. You don’t want watery mushrooms!

  • Roughly chop about 250g of mushrooms, chop 5 red chillies (optional) and grate or crush one large clove of garlic. The çintar is a feisty mushroom and can handle the strong flavours.
  • Melt a knob of butter in a frying pan over a low heat and then add your ingredients to the pan.
  • Keep the heat on its lowest setting and toss the mushrooms in the pan so they can absorb the butter.
  • After 7 or 8 minutes, the mushrooms should have started to soften – they’re a meaty mushroom so give them time.
  • Cut some thick wedges of bread and put them under grill.
  • Now add milk to your pan (this is the poor man’s cream but it does the trick for this recipe). We added a ladleful but it depends how much ‘gravy’ you want. Stir the mushrooms and they will start to absorb the milk and tenderise further.
  • Remove your toast from the grill, arrange it on a plate and top it with your çiıntar mushrooms.
Çintar Mushrooms on Toast

Çintar Mushrooms on toast

And if you’re enjoying beautiful autumnal sunshine, as we are here in Fethiye, you can sit and savour the flavours of your çintar mushroom dish while enjoying the outdoors.

Afiyet Olsun!

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Comments

  1. I love your closeup of the cintar mushroom. Must admit I haven’t heard of this type before – are they only found in Turkey?

  2. @ Jenny: They’re definitely found in Turkey, Greece, Cyprus and Spain in larger numbers but elsewhere in the world, too. We’d never seen them before coming to Turkey and we love them, now! 🙂

  3. I cannot believe it’s another year – I’m stuck somewhere in 2005. I love mushrooms – you’re so lucky to have fresh ones!

  4. @ Belinda: I know. I have to keep thinking about how old I am. We love çintar mushroom season.

  5. Looks lovely. Tessekür.

  6. So sad that it is a little too cold to be sitting outside to enjoy a meal, but love the thought of it.

  7. @ Italian Notes: Lovely, it is too. I could eat it again now. Unfortunately, we ate all the çintar mushrooms up yesterday! 🙂

    @ Bellini: We’re making the most of this sitting outside weather as the temperatures will drop soon.

  8. I remember your risotto from last year. This year’s recipe is a lot easier (even I could manage that) and emphazises the unique flavor of this delicious mushroom. Thanks for your message about my email. Afiyet olsun for many more mushrooms.

  9. mmmm…that’s beautiful!!

  10. @Inka: Yes, the toast is a lot more simple than the risotto. 🙂

    @Jen: Certainly is. 🙂

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