Cheese holds a sense of romance for me. It is so much a product of its terrain, flora, fauna and clime. Certain cheeses have a natural affinity with heat but most taste best – as here – in their natural state.
200g/7oz porcini mushrooms
120g/4oz aged Parmesan
The juice of half a lemon
65ml/21/2oz mild-tasting, good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4tbsp crème fraîche
A handful of curly parsley, leaves only, very finely chopped
Wipe the mushrooms carefully and gently with a soft clean cloth; don't wash them or the water will soak in and drown their flavour. Using a small sharp knife, trim the bases, then cut into wafer-thin slices.
Slice the Parmesan very finely (to ensure that it does not overpower the delicate flavour of the mushrooms, the slices need to be paper-thin).
Toss the sliced porcini and Parmesan together very gently, squeeze over the lemon juice and drizzle with a little of the oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper – these flavours are too delicate for enthusiastic seasoning. The salad is a whisper of flavours, no more.
Arrange on individual plates, with a spoonful of crème fraîche in the centre. Drizzle over the rest of the olive oil and sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve.