funghi porcini

Joined Jan 12, 2001
ok folks....

i've just returned to bologna after spending a few days in florence. and i've got a big sack of fresh porcini mushrooms that i picked up.

the markets were just about bustin' with them, and they were as low as £10,000/kilo. (this is about $5 for 2 pounds of fresh porcini (!)) yes....that was my reaction too.

by the way...florence is THE town in italy for food shopping. skip the touristy gourmet shops and head to the mercato centrale, where the florentines shop. fresh huge morels were as low as $7.50/kilo and i bought a liter of cloudy, bright green xtra virgin o.o. for 5 bucks. me out here...i'm kind of ashamed to admit i've never worked with fresh porcini before.

what's the best way to clean them? soak in water and then dry? or just wipe down with a damp towel?

then what? the guy who sold them to me told me to just simply sautee them with garlic, olive oil, salt, and a little tomato, then use them to sauce a fresh pasta. but i'd like to really feature the porcini and not use them on pasta.

is it best to start them in a dry pan and heat the water out of them first, before sauteeing? is it better to quick-cook them or go through the whole process of sauteeing, drawing out the water, cooking it away, and then sauteeing again?

any ideas or help would be appreciated.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
Everyone should have such problems, Eddie! :p

Thanks for the market tip... I mean, the mercato centrale, of course. If/when we get to Italy (still dreaming for next summer, holding our breaths, crossing fingers and toes...), I'll make sure to visit. I'd also love to find local equipment stores to pick up some relatively inexpensive tools (truffle slicer and affordable truffles; a girl can dream, can't she?).

Love to read an update when you get time to write one!
Joined Jan 12, 2001
affordable truffles!! good one.

i'll let you know how it comes out, mezz....
Joined Mar 13, 2001
Hi Eddie,

If the porcini are really dirty, wash them briefly and dry them in a towel. Otherwise, just trim them and brush the dirt off.

Cooking question: Risotto ai Funghi Selvatici (Risotto with Wild Mushrooms)

Oops, I almost forgot the cooking method: film the frying pan with olive oil, when hot toss the mushrooms, season with salt and sauté 5 minutes or more to evaporate moisture and to itensify their flavor.


[ September 22, 2001: Message edited by: Kimmie ]
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Hi Ed~
I like using dry and fresh use the rehydrating liquid from the dry in risotto
saute the fresh and add toward the end of cooking....
I'd quarter depending on size the fresh saute in a oiled hot pan.
My standard risot is garlic onions sauteed in generous oil...add arborio and cook for a minute, add wine ( I use dry white with most shrooms) let absorb, then stock 3x or until aldente add the sauteed shrooms, any herbs, cook some more then add cheese before serving
**Don't soak shrooms.
Joined Jan 12, 2001
hi everyone thanks for all the great suggestions.

the porcini were indeed quite dirty and so i ended up using quite a bit of water to clean them well. they were huge porcini (probably 5-6" diameter caps) and the tops were also really thick with quite a lot of really dense, greenish gills (the underside of the cap).

i chopped them roughly and started them in hot dry pan to sweat out the water before adding olive oil, garlic, and s&p. this is a technique (sweating the water out first) that i saw on a cooking show with gordon ramsay. i'd never heard of this before. works great!

i hate when you're trying to sautee and it just steams the mushrooms for the first 5 minutes.

anyway...i sauteed them well and then did a gratin-type topping with bread crumb, garlic, parsely, butter, grated parm... then just put it under the broiler and served it as a side. very tasty. the porcini really have a different texture than most other shrooms.

still have one enormous one left and the cap is pure white, where the others were dark brown. gonna slice and sautee and have it over fresh-cut tagliatelle and butter.
Joined Sep 20, 2001
Hi,and welcome to the cafe cherimoya.
This is a great place,to have fun and learn something.
Hasta la vista!!
Joined Mar 13, 2001
Dear Eddie,

Your gratin-type topping sounds absolutely divine. Next time I get my hands on a porcini...

Joined Jan 12, 2001
hi cherimoya

glad it worked for you! mine squeeked too.

i actually sauteed them for quite a bit longer after the water seemed all dried up, adding olive oil, garlic, s & p, and parsely. i like to get them nice and browned and really condense the flavors.

i think you're right, though, that people could cook them without fat this way and they'd be just as good. well...almost.

a little butter at the end still helps.

i can't believe it never occurred to me to do it this way before....the whole steaming/sauteeing thing always really annoyed me.

i keep learning new things about cooking....every day...

i always love soy sauce with mushrooms. we used to use this sweet soy sauce at one place i worked. has anyone seen this? it's very thick and syrupy and sweet. comes in a big dark brown bottle that kind of looks like a beer bottle. with a beer-bottle-style bottle cap. great stuff!
Joined Mar 12, 2001
Hello all, You are probably talking about Kecap Manis ( Indonesia), or Kecap Hitam ( Malaysia).
You can also get a Chinese sweet soy that has sugar and malt sugar added to it, and finally, there is another Malaysian sweet , thick , black soy sauce that is called Tim Cheong, not to be confused with timcheong which is often the name for Chinese sour plum sauce.

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