It’s a sunny day outside; the walls of my flat are painted with light. It has been rainy for days now, we’re a bit frozen, some of us are already hit by the winter mood successfully while others left the country for the warm seas in the south. But here I am, on a sunny weekend, listening to Chopin’s Spring Waltz and thinking of dried Porcinis.
Here in the central Europe the mushroom picking season peek is usually September-October. Forests are decorated with many mushrooms, people love to go picking them and yet they are very respectful to the nature, it’s hard to see any rubbish or too many signs of human destruction in the lands. Just sometimes the silence is broken with another hunter with basket full of mushrooms; most commonly Chanterelle, Parasol, Blusher, Saffron Milk Cap and of course priceless Porcini.
And if you were a passionate collector with a full basket, it would be a bit difficult to consume all mushrooms at once, better to save them for later. For storing, there are a number of methods used; for example it’s possible to freeze them after cleaning. But according to my experience unfrozen mushrooms are hard to roast because of having too much the water in them. Or you can create pickles with different herbs, this is best option for smaller and more crispier ones. And then, it’s possible to slide and dry them. Which means they can be used for cooking and as a spice the whole winter. They usually dried on a string indoors in a semi-dark place. Or some people have drying machines with does the work slowly with blowing over the night. I just love to have a large pot of home-dried wild mushrooms cocktail at home over the winter.
The taste of dried porcini is strong and concentrated. They do have a great texture of both crispy and fleshy feel in the mouth. The smell is like sudden autumn memories rushing in. They are perfect for soups and sauces. Especially with heavy cream.
No need for recipe here; roast the onions, add heavy cream, add dried mushrooms and serve with lots of ground pepper. Enjoy with al dente spaghetti.
More information regarding mushroom picking, see my mushroom articles HERE.