About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Monday, October 29, 2007
Fresh Porcini
More air freight deliveries of overseas mushrooms continue to to the markets. After trying some excellent golden chanterelles (Cantharellus cibarius), some ceps (Boletus edulis) or porcini, as they are more commonly known in Australia, were on sale last week, so 300g came home with me from Damien Pike's stall at Prahran Market. They were a bit cheaper than the recently advertised price of $150kg, these were more like $120, perhaps for a reason.

It would have to be said that either some sharp Frenchman has consigned these to Australia, or the air freight wasn't too kind to them, for the mushrooms definitely looked a little worse for wear. I also bought some for my Polish in-laws who said that the aroma, even when cooking, wasn't as strong as expected and the frozen ones they had bought previously, were better quality.

This is not to say it's Damien's fault either, with the mushrooms coming from the other side of the world, you do have to take some chances, so I'm hoping as the season continues, the quality will improve. The thing is though, if you don't buy some of these mushrooms, even if not first class, they may stop being imported. Having said that though, I can report the flavour was nonetheless distinctly porcini, with no off characters.

We simply took one larger specimen and sliced it thickly, rubbed it with some olive oil and simply grilled it for a tasty snack and the rest we turned into a sauce. Never having had fresh porcinis in a sauce before, the texture was noticeably better than frozen ones and the porcini straight off the grill had good flavour too, perhaps concentrated by this method of cooking.

They do need careful cleaning and trimming, as for all wild mushrooms, there is plenty of grit present, but that is par for the course. If you have never had fresh porcinis before, it might be an idea to try some at this cheaper price, if they're still available.
 
  posted at 11:18 am
  12 comments



12 Comments:
At 4:47 pm, Blogger Anh said...

Neil, I would love to try fresh porcini...! But no time to get down to Prahran market just yet. So I think I might miss out something truly special! *sigh*

 
At 5:32 pm, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Wow those are pricey! I've never liked them dry. I'd love to try fresh.

 
At 6:54 pm, Blogger katiez said...

I've only ever had the dried...and I live in France! What's worng with this picture.....

 
At 10:51 pm, Blogger Lydia said...

I've only had fresh porcini in Italy and France, and they are truly divine. Here we only see dried ones, which are very expensive.

 
At 12:21 pm, Blogger Ed said...

I was lucky enough to eat fresh porcini at a combined Barolo dinner at Bottega two weeks ago and the flavours were great. The importer was telling us about the problems importing them and his first consignment of 80kg had to be dumped. the last time I bought Porcini from Damien Pike it was frozen and I have to say porcini don't freeze well at all. I think I've given up buying these imports to avoid disappointment.

 
At 7:56 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi anh, I know how you feel, I haven't got down to Springvale for those jicama...we are both missing out!

Hi tanna, yes they are, but don't they grow in the States too? You may find them at a more reasonable price, if you are a mushroom lover, you'll definitely like them.

Hi katiez, something wrong indeed! I live in Australia and I'm eating fresh French ceps. Off to market with you.

Hi lydia, fresh and frozen have the better flavour and texture for sure. The price of dried may initially look expensive, but as someone who dries their own, it takes a lot of fresh mushrooms to make a small amount of dried ones.

Hi ed, lucky bastard! Damien alluded to me that he wasn't buying everything that was offered either. Having seen fresh Australian morels turn disappointing inside of 24 hours, I know bringing them from the other side of the world must be incredibly difficult, though the chanterelles looked and were excellent. Don't give up on the frozen, there is some technique required to get the best out of them. You need to slice them whilst still semi-frozen and start to cook them straight away, this helps to keep the texture. We freeze morels with excellent results.

 
At 9:32 pm, Blogger Squishy said...

Who is a lucky boy then? I am so jealous!

 
At 8:23 am, Blogger neil said...

Then perhaps I should tell you about a site I stumbled upon the other day that had pictures and text regarding yellow morels that grow somewhere up your way...

 
At 10:43 pm, Anonymous tempelritter@yahoo.com.au said...

Try golden chanterelles in tins..get rid of the (salty) water and soak them in fresh water over night in the fridge..then fry them with onion...some flour..light brown...then add water..that makes a delicious mushroom sauce...some meat..or better only dumplings with it....yummie
I get my tins from germany(pfifferlinge) or austria (eierschwammerl).

 
At 2:49 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi tempelritter, good information on how to treat tinned chanterelles. I've had them before, but wasn't that impressed, though they are much cheaper than fresh.

 
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