Porcini: Boletus Edulis
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Call it a Porcini, Cep or King Bolete, Boletus Edulis draws culinary fans world wide.
Fresh or dried, porcini adds an earthy flavor to many recipes. In fact, porcini holds its texture and taste when dried and reconstituted, partially explaining its cost on the commercial market.
General fresh porcini preparation follows some basic guidelines: Remove the pores; slice mushroom into bite sized pieces; pay fry or sautee mushrooms in oil or butter.
Western North America hosts uncountable patches of the summer and fall blooming fungi, which grows as easily in and around pine forests as it does the region's coniferous forests.
Identifying porcini in the wild can be fairly straightforward task. The top picture, for example, shows a large mushroom with light brown cap, pores and hefty, club shaped stipe or stem.
Not pictured is the fact that the pores did not bruise when brushed with a fingernail.
Western porcini enthusiasts also keep an eye out for the Spring King (Boletus rex-veris), a tasty spring fruiting mushroom.
Often found growing in groups, they have thick, white to cream colored, reticulated stipes, dark caps and white pores.
Neither the pores nor stipes stain blue when bruised.
Along with morels, it is a prize spring mushroom.
The Queen Bolete (Boletus regineus), another native West Coast boletus, blooms during fall in mixed hardwood/conifer forests.
The dark brown cap and white stipe help with identification. Yellowed pores indicates mushroom aging, and the pores do not bruise blue when scraped.
Although a much less common species than porcini, culinary experts place it in the same prized edible category as porcini.
© 2008-2012 Patricia A. Michaels