Universally, Boletus mushrooms may be the most popular wild mushroom. The French refer to them affectionately as cèpes, while the Germans glorify them as Steinpilz, and the Italians call them porcini, meaning piglets (pigs compete for them).
Many people use different types of these “hamburger bun,” brown-capped, bulbous-stemmed, pore-bearing early fall delicacies interchangeably with B. edulis. Most mushroom hunters commonly refer to all of these mushrooms as “boletes.”
There are more than 200 varied species of boletus mushrooms but the King Boletus (Boletus edulis) is probably the best edible. It makes great eating and is highly valued by Chefs all over the world.
They occasionally have a slight bitter edge. For the pan you may wish to remove the pore layer on older specimens but for drying it is fine to leave them on.
Boletus edulis is truly great dried and reconstituted. Drying concentrates the flavor and ameliorates any slight bitterness.
When powdered, they impart strong flavor that is great for soup, gravy, meat loaf, pasta sauce etc. Don’t use too much!
Habitat and Season
Usually in the summer and fall; on the ground near or under trees but frequently found under pines.
Early finds of Boletus mushrooms will often be quite buggy. Check the bottom of the stem for holes made by the maggots of fungus gnats.
Once cold weather sets in this becomes less of a problem. Often they come up most strongly around the time of frost. Frost or near frost conditions reduce infestation problems greatly.
Preparation & Preservation
These mushrooms can be slippery. To reduce this quality, quickly fry slices in oil or butter. The simplest method of preparation is to sauté them in olive oil and butter, then add a rich brown sauce and serve as a side dish with steak, broiled chicken, or fish.
Or layer fried mushrooms over rice, or baked, or mashed potatoes. Another way to quickly prepare boletes is to dip thick slices in beaten eggs,then dust in seasoned bread crumbs for deep-frying.
Boletes change rapidly. They should be used or preserved as soon as you bring them home.
The most common method of preserving boletes is to dry them. Cut them into lengthwise slices no less than1/2 inch thick from cap to base including the stems.
Mushrooms from the Boletaceae family are considered good, safe and edible. There are, however, a number of poisonous ones, and particular care should be taken to avoid consuming these.