Posy and porcini pasta makes a beautiful autumn meal
Short of a roadside produce stand, farmers' markets are about the most direct route fruits and vegetables can take from field to kitchen. And occasionally, two or three items appear in markets at the same time that together capture the beauty and earthiness of the harvest.
In early fall, porcini mushrooms and zucchini blossoms are just such a pair. Porcinis have two seasons a year - spring and fall - and zucchini squash, of course, are available in spades (and therefore the blossoms too) all summer long in the West. But in the fall, they overlap.
Chef Matt Lyman of One Pico, at Santa Monica's Shutters on the Beach hotel, takes full advantage of produce timing, shopping at the farmers' market for the restaurant's seasonal menu.
When I trailed him through the market, he bagged delicate young zucchini blossoms and fresh porcinis, then later stirred the blossoms into pasta and shaved the mushrooms over the top. Since the porcinis and the squash blossoms available aren't always quite so delicate, I sauté the mushrooms and quarter the petals of the flowers.