Porcini are also called Cep, Penny Bun, Steinpilz and King Bolete, in Latin… Boletus Edulis. The King of Mushrooms! Soo nutty and savoury, they’re great in pate, sauces, gravy etc. And they’re HUGE, so it’s easy picking. I love these with fresh pasta. But how to find them?
Where do I look?
- Forests of Douglas Fir, Hemlock, Pine, Spruce… they hide under bramble. Higher altitudes are better.
When do I look?
- Fall in BC
- No gills – sponge instead (pores) – white, yellow or brown in age
- Brown cap, white flesh, mostly not blueing when bruised
- Fat, light brown stem (bulbous)
- Growing on the ground in the forest
- For a chef… the smell of nuts and gravy (not bitter tasting!)
Know these look alikes first…
- Blue Staining Boletes – Some are poisonous, some edible – for experienced mushroomers
- Red pored Boletes – Avoid these… especially SATAN’s Bolete! (ehm… I’ve never seen one out here)
- Other great edible Boletus – Admirable Bolete, Zeller’s Bolete (which does stain blue, see pic), White King Bolete
How to cook them?
- Pick the freshest, firmest you can otherwise you’ll have to ignore the maggots:) Protein!
- You can remove & discard the pore layer if it’s not really fresh.
- Slice and dry them, so that they keep their texture, this is key. If you just fry them they will turn to slugs in the pan. Or try searing them on high heat, no oil, no water in (pan or grill)- only if you get them really firm and young!
- Mushroom Pate recipe
- Nibbling a piece of the cap is a common identification technique for certain mushrooms (Boletus included). Chew a piece and spit it out. If it tastes bitter, this is not your porcini. You want it to taste nutty, meaty… then you’re in business.
Please use caution when hunting for edible mushrooms. This is just a rough guide which is no substitute for going out with an experienced wildcrafter. Most mushrooms aren’t deadly poisonous, but it’s no fun getting sick and not worth the risk! Come with us on a mushroom tour to start you off on the right foot.
David Arora’s – All that the rain promises and more is a great handbook to give you more information on specific Pacific Northwest mushrooms.