If you are not a keen mushroom-picker, or cannot tell a mushroom
from a toadstool, you had better use store-bought salted mushrooms
or fresh cultivated mushrooms for this recipe, instead of picking and salting them yourself.
Nevertheless, the wild forest mushrooms are always the tastiest for any mushroom recipe.
The following salad is a traditional addition to the Finnish Christmas table. Also some finely cubed, tart apple may be added to the salad.
mixed salted mushrooms or fresh cultivated champignons
finely chopped onion to taste
smetana, crème fraîche or whipped cream
Soak the salted mushrooms overnight in plenty of cold water to get rid of the excess salt. Change the water every now and then. Be careful not to remove all of the salt, so keep tasting the mushrooms every now and then while soaking, until the taste is suitable. Drain the mushrooms carefully, squeezing them as dry as possible, and cut them into small pieces.
If using fresh champignons, clean them, cut them into small pieces and briefly cook them in boiling water (about 5 minutes). Drain and squeeze them dry as well.
Mix the mushrooms, the chopped onion and some smetana or crème fraîche to get a creamy potato salad-like consistency and season with pepper. Add also salt, when using fresh champignons.
If you are using cream instead, whip it until quite stiff and gently mix with the chopped mushrooms, onion and spices. You can also use both whipped cream and smetana/crème fraîche in the salad.
Store the salad covered in refrigerator before serving. Serve along with cold cuts as hors d'uvre, as a spread on sandwiches etc.
In Finland, readily salted mixed forest mushrooms are sold practically in every store. They just need to be soaked in water before use, as described above.
In picture on right: store-bought vacuum-packed Finnish salted mushrooms (pickle milkcaps).
When in a hurry, instead of soaking the salted mushrooms for hours, they can be once or twice parboiled in water to remove their saltiness. However, this will cause a greater loss of flavour.
Recipe source: traditional Finnish recipe.