Ovolo Mushroom and Celery Salad with Parmigiano Reggiano

My favorite quality about Italian cooking is the focus on simply, quality ingredients and highlighting their natural flavor. This salad, inspired by a dish at Rovello 18 in Milan, is no exception. With just a few ingredients – nutty ovolo mushrooms, crisp celery, and salty Parmigiano – this recipe is surprisingly flavorful. Simply dressed with extra virgin olive oil and freshly cracked pepper, this light salad has a nutty, salty yet delicate flavor profile. Pair it with an Italian white wine, more specifically from Sicily.

ovolo mushroom salad

What is an ovolo mushroom?

Also know as “Cesare’s mushroom”, these little orange guys have proven to be elusive. I first tried these mushrooms in this salad at a restaurant called Rovello 18 here in Milan (where I am currently living if you’ve missed that little update). I was floored by how simply yet delicious this salad was and immediately asked my server for all the details. I hadn’t had ovolo mushrooms before, but they’re not your typical mushroom. Forget all you know about mushrooms being “earthy” and “umami”. These ovoli have a delicate flavor with a subtle nuttiness and ever so mildly sweeter than a standard portabella or shiitake. This flavor profile makes them perfect for slicing up and enjoying uncooked in a salad.

ovolo mushroom

Naturally, I began my hunt through the produce markets of Milan to find these mushrooms to make this salad at home. Most standard grocery stores simply do not carry them. I even tried specialty grocers that had a range of products that would delight any foodie. I all but forgot about them until I was exploring the Brera neighborhood, north of the city’s center. I saw a particularly charming produce market and popped in. I didn’t even have them on my mind at that moment but suddenly, I saw a tray of orange-topped mushrooms. At last, I found them! The merchant probably thought I was crazy when I was nearly jumping up and down at having finally found them. I told him, “sonno molto felice!” and clapped my hands and he just chuckled at me. If you’re in Milan and are searching, try L’Orto di Brera.

l'orto di brera in milano italy

Use the Best Ingredients For This Simple Salad

It’s worth reiterating that you need to use the absolute best possible ingredients for this recipe. Organic, local, seasonal everything. Each ingredient needs to sing to make this salad harmonious. If the celery is limp and bland, or the olive oil is low-quality and mild, you won’t have the delicious salad you’re hoping for. And don’t forget the cracked black pepper!

Choose a Sicilian White Wine to Pair With Ovolo Mushrooms

Because this salad is light and delicate, you’ll want to pair it with a white wine. Your best option would be a white from Sicily. Find a label that says “Etna Bianco” which indicates a white blend from the Etna region of Sicily.

I particularly love the I Custodi “ANTE” Etna Bianco. It’s refreshing, light, and mineral. It’s one of my favorite whites period that I’ve had this year. Any Etna Bianco you can find will do, though!

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Ovolo Mushroom and Celery Salad with Parmigiano Reggiano

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  • Author: Sydney
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 serving 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Simply, yet impactful salad with just three ingredients: ovolo mushroom, celery, and Parmigiano Reggiano. Lightly dressed with the best quality olive and cracked pepper.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 45 small ovolo mushrooms
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Extra virgin olive oil (the best you can buy)
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • A dash of salt

Instructions

  1. Slice the mushrooms and celery into roughly equivalent strips. I recommend slicing the celery at a strong angle to get long, thin slices.
  2. Chop some Parmigiano into sizes about the same as the mushroom and celery slices.
  3. Layer the mushrooms, celery, and Parm on a plate and drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil. Give it a sprinkling of salt. Finish with freshly cracked pepper. So easy!

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Sydney Isaacs
Sydney Isaacs

Sydney is a 29-year old American living between France and Italy. She has a WSET Level 2 certification in wine, along with a degree in environmental engineering and an MBA. She loves exploring local farmer’s markets, haunting her favorite wine bar, and discovering new restaurants.

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