CarolCooks2…Friday Food Review…The Porcini Mushroom…

Welcome to Friday Food Reviews where I will be covering a different food or product each week and looking at… what are they?  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, are they safe to eat, how to store them, how to use them, cook them, anything connected to that food. or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three…

This week it’s…The Porcini Mushroom…

“Porcini” is Italian for “piglets.” This widely used common name originates in the fleshiness and umami flavour of porcini mushrooms. “Ceps” or “cépes” are their English and French names, respectively. The singular is “porcino.”

Fresh or dried the Porcini Mushrooms are featured highly in French and Italian cuisine…they grow in abundance in Tuscany and a popular dish is these beautiful mushrooms sautéed with Nepitella a Mediterranean wild mint its unusual but inviting flavour, is like a mix of mint, basil, oregano, thyme and liquorice; traditionally used to flavour meats, soups, stews along with mushroom, tomato, potato dishes.

Like the truffle which grows where there are Oak or Elm trees the Porcino mushrooms mostly grow where there are pine or chestnut trees…

Italy’s most prized wild mushroom not only is it cultivated in Europe but in North America and parts of Asia…prized by gourmet chefs it is difficult to cultivate,  hence the price $30-$60 fresh-picked they are slightly cheaper if purchased dried.

A brown capped mushroom with thick white stalk the caps can be 1” to nearly 12 inches…they are however sceptical to maggots and being eaten by animals which means sometimes they are not worth picking…plus once picked they quickly lose their flavour…

Instead of the normal mushroom gills on the underside, the porcini has a spongy underside which when overripe turns very yellow and then green and should not be eaten as they are overripe. If you closely at the image you see the spongy underside…

Porcini mushrooms should never be washed not soak or rinse they should just be lightly brushed clean with a slightly damp cloth or paper towel.

Fresh Porcini have a nutty, earthy taste with a meaty texture when dried and reconstituted they are slightly chewy.

When buying or foraging for Porcino make sure they are unblemished or with few small blemishes, no black spots and check the underside is white or very pale yellow if it’s very dark yellow or dark green they are too ripe.

To store fresh Porcini keep them unwashed in a loose paper bag in your crisper they should use immediately or within a few days.

Dried Porcini should be kept in an airtight container in a dark, cool place(not cold) and will keep for about 6 months.

When buying dried Porcini avoid any packs with lots of small crumbs this means they are not fresh and likely old and lacking in flavour.

To reconstitute dried Porcini cover them with just enough warm water until they are soft and have expanded 15-30 mins. Remove from water but don’t throw it away it can be used for broths, soups or risotto.

Just a warning do not eat Porcini mushrooms raw as they are difficult to digest and while some people can handle this in others it can cause a gastric upset…

Porcini Powder...

Porcini powder is a potent mushroom spice made by finely grinding dried porcini. It is so aromatic that with just half a teaspoon of porcini powder, you will add a lovely mushroomy flavour to almost any meal…If I was lucky enough to find /buy a nice sized Porcini mushroom I would use some of it fresh then dry the remainder and grind my own powder…

Pickled Porcini…

Porcini mushroom pickles are quite popular, especially in Eastern Europe, as a snack or a side dish for fatty foods. If you like vegetable pickles, you will like pickled porcini too. They are sour, rubbery, and delicate. Normally, they would only last for a few weeks, but canned ones keep for a year.

Note: Porcini mushrooms are mycorrhizal and require a complex ecosystem. Because of that, they cannot be cultivated…

What can you substitute for the Porcini…

Some say the Shitake Mushroom… as a porcini substitute for their umami flavour and availability. However, shiitake is also less mushroomy and has a very dominant sulfurous aroma which may upset the balance of your dish if you normally use the Porcini Mushroom which has a more mushroomy aroma…personally I would say if you get a nice fresh Porcini to use it well and dry some and make some Porcini Powder.

That’s all for today I look forward to your comments and hearing if you are lucky enough to be able to forage or buy fresh Porcini…See you tomorrow for Saturday Snippets have a lovely evening xxx

21 thoughts on “CarolCooks2…Friday Food Review…The Porcini Mushroom…

  1. Pingback: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup… 20th February-26th February 2022-Monday Musings, Health, A-Z World Cuisine, Australia, Porcini Mushrooms and Saturday Snippets. | Retired? No one told me!

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      Mushrooms are a favourite here I also like you buy mushrooms weekly…Porcino is harder to source we seem to get everything but fresh ones here although dried porcino are good…Thanks Sally Hugs xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. CarolCooks2 Post author

        Oh No! Sorry to hear that Robbie..we are all quarantined here as Aston tested positive 2 days ago as if we haven’t got enough to contend with atm…Donna has finished her treatment…Lauren is not so good I will email you too much to put on here …I hope Michael perks up quickly..such a worry for you Robbie Hugs x


  2. Pingback: CarolCooks2…Friday Food Review…The Porcini Mushroom… – MobsterTiger

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