categories: Cocktail Hour / Getting Outside
Comments Off on Boletus Edulis?
In my Big Reed post I mentioned all the mushrooms and other fungi we spotted. I’m still working on a more general mushroom post, with tons of photos… But yesterday morning I spotted a tall, lone Boletus edulis under a white pine in a mixed forest on the daily walk. My daily walk–the mushroom was standing still. This time of year the bugs aren’t bad and beetles hadn’t gotten to it, nor slugs. King bolete! I hadn’t seen one for a few years, luck of the weather. This one was fairly pale on top with a heavy stem–every other mushroom on the morning’s walk
had been gilled and I almost ignored this one, except for the stem, the mighty stem. You bend, feel underneath–no gills! Lunch. I searched the immediate area for more, but no, and walked like a leatherstocking all the way home, a mile in the forest, no further specimens.
Home I cleaned it and showed it to Elysia, who said Ewww, because that’s her job, but then took it in her hands for a close inspection. Unlike the gilled mushrooms, the spores on a bolete drift down tubes in a spongy substrate under the cap. You can see the pores easily, naked eye. We plucked at it a little bit to expose the tubes. I stripped the stem some to look for beetles, but none, hooray. The spongy layer peels off, about equal thickness with the cap itself. It can be eaten, but on this older specimen, it would be likely to go mushy in the pan.
You may know this mushroom by other names–porcino is one, porcini is multiple, and I wish I’d had plural luck. Cepe is French. Steinpilz, German, of course. Boletus edulis covers a range of very similar Bolete variations. They’re popular everywhere, and easy to identify, so no great worries about dying or getting sick or anything: of this one I’m sure, sure enough to feed it to my kid.
I like to slice it cap and stem to preserve a good mushroom shape, plus a couple of coins cut from the lower stem and a couple of parentheses from the outer cap. Couple tablespoons butter, couple cloves garlic, get it hot, drop the mushroom slices in, fitting them one by one into the pan like pieces
in a puzzle. Turn once, both sides brown, chop parsley, dust it on, plate and serve with what was going to be for lunch anyway: fall bounty (cucumber salad, lentil stew with every possible kind of vegetable, tzatziki, zucchini bread).
The porcino’s slices are deeply flavorful, a little sweet, a little woodsy, a little slippery, sexy a little, keep it to yourself. With a bit of crunch. Wow. Juliet’s and Elysia’s experimental tastes light them up, and in a trice the mushroom is gone.
I searched again this morning, but no luck. I’ll keep looking though. There can’t be just one!