Lactarius deliciosus, a gourmet delight

Rich in vitamins and minerals, it is one of the most popular mushrooms in Spanish cuisine.

Saffron milk cap or Red pine mushroom, is one of the most popular mushroom varieties in Spanish cuisine. Its scientific name is Lactarius deliciosus, which gives us an idea of its popularity in the kitchen and as a gourmet product.

These mushrooms are easily recognized by their orange color and their yellowish concentric lines. At the edges, their layers acquire a greenish hue. The gathering season is during the months of September, October, and November. Here you can buy the mushrooms online.   

Cataluña and Castilla y León are the regions in which this mushroom is most traditionally consumed. In Catalan territory, they are known as ‘rovelló’ thanks to their orangey hue. In Castilian territory, they go by a number of names, like ‘níscalo’. In Murcia they are called ‘guiscano’ and in Valencia, ‘pinatell’ or ‘pinetell’.

The meat of the saffron milk cap is dense and compact, with a smooth and sweet smell and a somewhat bitter taste when consumed raw. It is an incredibly healthy mushroom, given that it has almost no fat and very few carbohydrates. It is also a source of minerals, like iodine and phosphorus, and vitamins.

Perfect for frying or roasting, saffron milk caps are very versatile and combine well with many other ingredients. For this reason, you can find a variety of recipes in which they take center stage, like in rice or meat stews, saffron milk caps ‘al ajillo’, served with potatoes, or saffron milk cap tortilla with duck foie (see recipe here). They also serve well as a garnish. Cooking saffron milk caps is simple and easy.

It is important to clean the mushrooms well before consumption. With the help of a knife, cut the lower part of the stem off to avoid any leftover dirt. Next, with a knife or a damp towel, carefully clean the upper and lower part of the cap. It is important to avoid direct contact with water whenever possible, except in the case of excess dirt, in which it may be necessary to submerge them.

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