One of the great pleasures of Europe is chancing on simple ingredients that you would need to search specialist shops for in the UK. And so it was in the local tiny supermarket…
At €18 per kg, around the same price per kilo as a T-bone steak, in the world of edible mushrooms, it is something really special.
The Italians refer to this boletus genus of mushrooms as Porcini, meaning piglets! The meat-like texture of porcini and their earthy and nutty flavour is unequalled and can be used in so many different ways. But today is a day for simplicity and in Italy fresh porcini mushrooms are often enjoyed simply grilled and served with a little olive oil. Although once known as a ‘poor man’s steak’ their price even here in Italy has changed that idea (unless you know what to look for and where to find them – though they’re so popular here that gathering them is strictly regulated).
Triumphantly carrying my three porcini it was off to light the BGE. Simply set up with the cast iron grill in place and looking for a temperature around 200°C
The porcini were first brushed to remove any surface dirt, quickly washed in cold water to remove the debris and patted dry. Sliced into chunky sections, they were tossed in good olive oil before being salted and peppered.
Once the Egg was up to temperature the porcini were placed on the grill and the Egg closed. After about two to three minutes they were beginning to produce a delightful aroma. Each piece was flipped over revealing a golden grilled surface.
After another 2 minutes the waiting was over! Beautiful porcini simply grilled and then just touched with a little more olive oil and some salt and pepper. I don’t know about poor man’s steak, these were a feast in themselves. Perhaps we should think of steak as the poor man’s porcini!
Note to self – whilst porcini are not as easy to find in the UK, it made me think that a simple and delightful mushroom dish can simply be prepared using large field mushrooms, olive oil and seasoning.
Simply set the BGE to around 200°C direct heat with the cast iron grill in place. Dip the cap of each mushroom into some olive oil, remove the excess and place “stalk up” on the grill. Drizzle a little more oil into the cap of each mushroom and cook for 6-8 minutes until soft. Remove carefully, not spilling any of the juice from within the cap and serve with salt and pepper on toasted bread!