“I missed our old puff-ball friend, xxx giganteum, of course, but I gathered a beautiful dish of the little Amethyst xxx yesterday, and tomorrow morning I am going out in search of Amanita yyy, which I intend to try very delicately stewed in beef broth, or in a mock-beef gravy of Fistulina zzzz, if I can find one in good condition. I do not know if anyone has ever tried this combination of two fungi.”
-Dorothy L Sayers and Robert Eustace, The Documents In The Case
First rule: whatever you do do not try and pick mushrooms yourself unless you are utterly sure about what you are doing. Make sure you get your mushrooms from a reliable source. Even mushrooms deemed safe by the victim in Dorothy Sayers’ intriguingly structured (it’s based on letters and written statements) detective story have since been shown to be ‘poisonous/suspect’ on the Roger’s Mushrooms site – one of the best websites on mushroom on the internet.
But porcini…. ah porcini! The king of mushrooms!
Second rule: whatever you choose to do, don’t wash porcini, the subject of this post. They will simply go soggy. Someone once gave me a mushroom brush…. Lord knows where it is now… thankfully a damp cloth will do the trick. Slice them in half, vertically. And:
- fry in butter and garlic (around fifteen minutes but it all depends on size), deglaze with a bit of dry martini, and serve on toast or with ribbon pasta
- bake, stuffed with breadcrumbs, garlic and parsley
- eat as a raw salad dressed with lemon and smoked salt
- or you can use dried porcini, and put them in pancakes as in the recipe below
Where is the best place to eat boletus? At the end of October or beginning of November at the Sonalon in Switzerland. A fricassee of big, soft meaty mushrooms, perfectly cooked.
Recipe for porcini-filled pancakes
You can either buy ready-made pancakes or crêpes or you can make them – they are not difficult.
- 8 pancakes or crêpes
- 30g/1 oz dried porcini mushrooms infused in a little (about ½ cup/120ml) milk for about half an hour – reserve the milk
- 2 banana shallots – chopped small
- 1 drained 400g tin of good quality tomatoes (in a recent taste test Lidl tomatoes came first with a startling nine out of ten; second place was a tie between Waitrose, Tesco and Asda at six out of ten; last with a shameful three out of ten was Sainsburys)
- 100g/3½ oz butter
- about 6 basil leaves, folded over and snipped
- 170ml/¼ pint/½ cup double cream
- 2 small balls of mozzarella, sliced
- 4 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
- few grinds of nutmeg (go here if your nutmeg grinder is useless)
- salt and Indonesian long pepper
- Preheat oven to 180ºC.
- Melt half the butter and fry the shallots in it for a couple of minutes.
- Stir in the mushrooms and a little of the milk, cook for a further ten minutes.
- Add the drained tomatoes, the basil and the seasoning, cook for another minute or two.
- Take off the heat and add the cream and mozzarella.
- Fill the pancakes and roll up.
- Put into a buttered ovenproof dish.
- Dot with small knobs of the remaining butter.
- Sprinkle with the Parmesan.
- Bake for about ten minutes – until golden.
2014 © Saucy Dressings