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Preserving porcinis/cepes in olive oil?

While spending this weekend back in NYC, I was lucky enough to experience Di Fara's pizza in Brooklyn. It really is as amazing as the rumors had it. I had the pizza with porcinis. To make it, the guy reached into a big jar full of porcinis soaking in olive oil, and put a few mushrooms onto my slice.

Living out in Seattle, I collect my own porcinis/cepes in the mountains. I dry them to preserve them. However, does anyone know how to preserve them in olive oil? Are they dried and then put in oil? Put in oil fresh? Something else done to them? I really liked their quality and wouldn't mind figuring out how to do it myself.

Thanks!!

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  1. I'm not sure how its actually done - but I would cook in the olive oli - lightly then chill all rapidl If I only had a few. If I had a bunch another process to consider would be mason jarring them in the oil , raw then going through the process for canning. Allowing them to cook slightly while the seal is being made on your jar. ( I suspect this would be the commercial way to go about it. Unless it was done this way I wouldn't store at room temp.Bacteria is likely to build up. Pizza place probably went thru jar fairly fast allowing it to sit out.
    I also mushroom hunt(alaska) do you get boletus admirables( spelled wrong) I love their flavor and colors.

    1. I would think that preserving fresh mushrooms in oil would present a risk of botulism, as it does with like garlic and all other things that come in contact with soil.

      3 Replies
      1. re: C. Hamster

        I'm concerned as well about the mushroom spores being in an anaerobic environment --
        sounds like the perfect setup for botulism. My guess is that the pizza place makes a fresh batch each day...using the oil to merely hydrate the porcini.

        1. re: maria lorraine

          I believe that if it were properly done in sterile jars and in a pressure cooker you would end up with a safe product. Botulism is a realistic concern, not so much the mushroom spores. oil would not hydrate the dried porcini enough in a reasonable amount of time - BUT it might be the perfect thing to put a rehydrated porcini in so that it does not just dehydrate again on the pie.
          ANY canning must be done in a very strict way - done properly you have killed the botulism and other bacterias - not done with clean EVERYTHING - to proper temp or for proper length of time is a recipe for a botulism disaster.
          (I grew up in the bush we had to can everything)

          1. re: coastie

            My statement about spores wasn't entirely clear, I realize...I believe many types of spores, including botulism, may be lurking in the gills of fresh-foraged mushrooms along with mushroom spores.

            Regarding the pizza place, coastie, your guess is a good one...they probably did rehydrate the dried porcini and then placed them in oil to keep them from drying out during service. Holding/canning porcini longer than briefly in oil could be dangerous, IMO. Seattledebs, perhaps consult with the mycologists at the university there to makes sure you'll be safe before proceeding. For the moment, drying porcini for later use, as you're already doing, seems to be your best bet.

      2. I suspect it would be similar to how sun dried tomatoes are packed in oil. So I think they would have started with dried porcinis, which have a more intense flavour and chewier texture than the fresh anyway.

        Just thinking about porcinis because they're up in Ontario right now and I've got a pile of them in my fridge from this morning's foray. Made chicken breasts with porcini and white wine sauce for dinner; risotto a couple of days ago. I love this time of year.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Nyleve

          Since tomatoes are fairly acidic (dried probably even more so), they're a whole different kettle of fish than preserving mushrooms in oil, particularly without a fair amount of vinegar in there somewhere as well.

          FWIW, I imagine Dom (at the pizza place the OP mentions) probably buys 'em that way, and commercial bottling is a very different story than just sticking them in your fridge. If you want to try it "at home" either with fresh or reconstituted 'shrooms, do a small amount that you'll use up fairly quickly, don't stock up for the winter without detailed instructions from a reasonably authoritative source.

        2. Wow, thanks for these comments so far. I'd definitely want to know if a method were safe before trying it. I like the idea of using olive oil to reconstitute some of my dried ones a little while before use. They had such a nice consistency, especially on the pizza. When I make pizza this winter, maybe I'll try the reconstituting. There's also a mycological society here. Maybe I can see if they have any further ideas.

          Coastie, we do have boletus mirabilis (admirable bolete) out here. I'm dating a mushroom hunter who has pointed them out, but I haven't tasted them. How do you like to prepare them?

          4 Replies
          1. re: seattledebs

            the same due to their light lemon flavor I like them with a white fish.
            Purple top , yellow sponge - no blue stain when cut?

            1. re: seattledebs

              The dried porcinis won't reconstitute if you just stick them in olive oil. You'll have to soak them in water to soften them first. Then drain and cover with oil. I'd refrigerate and let them sit in the oil for a few days before using.

              1. re: Nyleve

                Good to know. Thank you! So much to learn.

                1. re: seattledebs

                  Good luck. And let me know if this works the way you want. I have a huge jar of dried porcinis from last season's bumper crop that I might want to do something like that with. Just make sure you refrigerate and use them up quickly. Small batches only.

            2. I live in Santa Cruz, California. I am a mushroom hunter.= and a few years ago I encountered some old Italians with large bags of boletes. I bemoaned the fact that there wasn't a way to preserve them other than drying. They told me they can them in oil. When I worried about bacteria they told me the key was to dice them and cook them in lots of oil for a long time on a very low heat. What this does is to cook most of the moisture out of them. I can them in 1/2 pints and seal them in a water bath. I assume that if botulism spore become active the dome on the lid will pop up. I have been doing this for several years and no one has gotten sick. Either I am lucky or this works. Also, I use grapeseed oil. It can get hot without burning and it doesn't intrude to much other flavor.

              I would love to hear any comments on this method.