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Jun 13, 2011 11:26 AM

Porcini Mushrooms

Pardon my ignorance, but what exactly is a porcini mushroom? I have heard of these, but have never had any. They seem to be like a god of mushrooms to hear some people talk.

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  1. It's a wild mushroom, also known as cepes. They have a smooth, meaty texture, and pungent, woodsy flavor. Most often you will find them dried. They need to be reconstituted in hot water for about 20 minutes before using in a recipe. Can be substituted for cultivated mushrooms.

    1. Big, fat delicious wild mushroom - botanic name: boletus edulis. It's used extensively in Italian cooking and is widely picked in Europe (where it's known by a variety of local names - cepe, steinpilz, etc.). The also grow in North America and I happen to have a secret spot where, in a good year, I can pick 10 lbs. a day during the season (August to October, depending on weather). They dry beautifully and are most widely available in that form, but you can sometimes find them also as a fresh mushroom - expensive. In some ways they are a god of mushrooms - meaty and flavourful - but in a side-by-side tasting, I think I would still prefer morels. If you want to give them a try, buy a package of dried porcinis and use them in a simple risotto or pasta. They also go well in meaty things like stews and make a wonderful mushroom soup.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Nyleve

        As Nyleve says, extensively used here in Europe and absolutely delicious. I always have a pack of dried in the cupboard. Obviously we call them different names, depending on what language we speak, or choose to adopt for food terms. In the UK, we usually import French, rather than Italian, words so I'd usually call them cepes.

        1. re: Godslamb

          Godslamb: Porcini mushrooms don't have gills. Their underside looks like sponges. There are many varieties. We pick them, slice them, and dry them on screens outside in the sun. Once dried we store them in paper bags. They add great flavour to many dishes.