Porcini Porcini

Pizza of the month from 04.11.2016: PORCINI E SALSICCIA

Pizza of the month PORCINI E SALSICCIA: Porcini (prized mushroom), sausage (pork) and mozzarella

Pizza of the month PORCINI E RUCOLA (vegetarian): Porcini (prized mushroom), rucola (roket salad), mozzarella and Parmigiano

porcino

Porcini (Boletus edulis)

Boletus edulis (English: penny bun, cep, porcino or porcini) is a basidiomycete fungus, and the type species of the genus Boletus. Widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere across Europe, Asia, and North America, it does not occur naturally in the Southern Hemisphere, although it has been introduced to southern Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Several closely related European mushrooms formerly thought to be varieties or forms of B. edulis have been shown using molecular phylogenetic analysis to be distinct species, and others previously classed as separate species are conspecific with this species.

Where and When to Find

Boletes are typically found on the ground in woods, and on the edges of the wood. Most often, they are clumped in groups. I tend to find them near conifers, but they are also located near oak and birch. Sparse patches of Boletes will be found in the Spring, but the mass crop grows in late summer/early fall when the weather starts to turn a little cooler and moisture precipitates the air.

Prized as an ingredient in various foods, B. edulis is an edible mushroom held in high regard in many cuisines, and is commonly prepared and eaten in soups, pasta, or risotto. The mushroom is low in fat and digestible carbohydrates, and high in protein, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. Although it is sold commercially, it is very difficult to cultivate. Available fresh in autumn in Central, Southern and Northern Europe, it is most often dried, packaged and distributed worldwide. It keeps its flavour after drying, and it is then reconstituted and used in cooking. B. edulis is one of the few fungi sold pickled. The fungus also produces a variety of organic compounds with a diverse spectrum of biological activity, including the steroid derivative ergosterol, a sugar binding protein, antiviral compounds, antioxidants, and phytochelatins, which give the organism resistance to toxic heavy metals. 

 

Cooking with Boletes

If you have found and identified a true bolete, a happy dance is in order. Make sure the cap is firm. If it is spongy, look close for tiny white to yellow wiggly lines. Maggots! Don’t despair. I don’t prefer maggots in my mushrooms, but you know the old cliche on desperate times. You can soak the mushrooms in salt water to help remove the creepy crawlers, but that often lends to soggy shrooms. Another option is to simply pick them out. If there are too many to count, chuck it and try again. The best Porcini is one that is found as a shrump—it’s bald head puffing beneath the surface of the forest floor. Most often the shrumps are maggot free, firm, and delectable.

To clean, gently rinse off dirt from the cap, and scrape the remaining dirt from the stem with a vegetable peeler. The spongy layer under the cap needs to be removed. It can be used to make broths, but should not be consumed itself. Once the mushroom is clean, cut the cap where it connects to the stem. The cap should be sliced downward to show off the beautiful curving feature. The remaining stem can be sliced or diced.

 

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