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For most of the world, porcini mushrooms are a feature of fall. But here in the West, we also get spring and even summer porcini. In fact, the biggest flush I deal with are right now, as spring fades into summer. To do justice to these mushrooms, we cannot look to Europe. We must develop our own porcini cuisine.
I had Chef April Bloomfield’s ricotta gnudi in New York at the James Beard Awards, and I had to recreate them, only with my own twist: A sauce of ramps and fresh porcini I found in the High Sierra.
I’d always been leery of the Slavic style of salt-pickled mushrooms. But I finally took the plunge and fermented my mushrooms Polish style, and damn but they’re good — especially with some rye bread and lots of vodka…
I’ve been spending long days by myself, combing the piney woods of the High Sierra, looking for Mr. Brown, the spring porcini mushroom. I am happy to say I’ve found him.
When life blesses you with porcini mushrooms so beautiful you could just weep over them, the right thing to do is serve them simply. In this case, grilled with wild onions.
Marinated mushrooms are a staple on any antipasti plate. They’re not pickled so much as they are preserved. Here’s how to do the technique the Italians call sott’olio.
There’s nothing quite like a porcini hunt. The mushrooms are huge, meaty and can go for $30 a pound or more, so finding them is like striking gold. And boy did we find them last weekend!
One of my favorite things is to gorge on a fresh, seasonal ingredient when it’s abundant — in this case porcini mushrooms. We ate them in a salad, grilled, pureed with venison, and in porcini ravioli.