Porcini, also called cèpe, steinpilz, or king bolete, are the edible mushrooms of Boletus edulis.
Porcini are not cultivated due to their symbiotic relationship with trees. They are found in Europe, North America, and western Asia, where they can be found near the base of various trees. In central Europe, the mushrooms emerge and are harvested in late summer to Autumn.
Porcini have brown caps and thick white stems. They are dense, with a meaty texture, and they have a nutty, meaty flavory. The fresh mushrooms are tender when cooked, while the dried variety are chewy.
Selection and storage Edit
When purchasing fresh mushrooms, select young, unblemished ones. They should be firm and brown and white without any black spots or yellow-green tinge. They will keep in the fridge for a few days in a paper bag. Avoid wetting the fresh mushrooms, which will make them mushy. Instead, brush off dirt with a damp clot and check them for worms.
Dried porcini are typically available year-round, and they should be stored in a dark, cool place. Keep them in an airtight container.
Porcini contribute a savory flavor to dishes. Fresh porcini are tender, and they can be simply sautéed and eaten as a side dish. They can also be added to pasta and rice dishes. Dried porcini must be soaked in warm water before use. Both the soaked mushrooms and the soaking liquid can be used in soups and sauces, where they add a savory flavor and chewy texture.