The etiquette rules on how to serve and eat porcini. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest.
What porcini etiquette is
Porcini etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat porcini mushrooms. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.
If you are hosting, follow the etiquette to serve porcini to your guests appropriately.
As a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat porcini mushrooms at the dining table and avoid offending your hosts.
What you should know about porcini
Porcini is one of the most prized edible mushrooms. It is commonly found in the Northern Hemisphere. Porcini mushrooms have a rich and distinctive flavor. Their texture is firm, meaty, and smooth to the palate.
Etiquette rules to serve and eat porcini
1) How to store porcini
It is best to eat fresh porcini the same day you buy or pick them.
Avoid storing fresh porcini in the fridge. The humidity spoils their texture and flavor. Furthermore, in the fridge, porcini can absorb the smell of other foods, and thus spoil their taste.
It is possible to freeze fresh porcini. You can freeze them raw or cooked. In the freezer, porcini usually last up to 4 months. However, the texture, color, and taste of frozen porcini deteriorate sensibly after a few weeks.
Pickled and dry porcini can be kept at room temperature. Store them in a cool and dry place, far from sources of heat and direct light. After opening, you can keep pickled porcini in the fridge, while you should store dry porcini out of the fridge, in a sealed container. Consume dry porcini by the expiration date on the packaging.
2) How to clean porcini
To clean porcini mushrooms, gently separate the stem from the cap. Wash them in cold running water for about one minute. Gently remove any dirt. Finally, place them on a towel or on kitchen paper to dry.
Do not soak porcini, as water risks spoiling the texture and flavor. Do not peel porcini before or after washing.
3) How to cook porcini
Due to food safety concerns, it is best to cook porcini. Avoid eating porcini raw, unless you buy them from a reputable vendor who has washed them thoroughly and professionally.
Before cooking raw porcini, slice them or cut them into chunks. Before cooking dry porcini, reconstitute them by soaking them in hot water for about 20 minutes. You can subsequently use the water for cooking.
You can cook porcini in various methods. Boil, grill, sautée, fry or deep-fry, or roast in the oven. They are ideal for soups, pasta, and risotto recipes. You can cook them in stews, bake them in flans or quiches, or add them to salads or carpaccio.
Mushrooms are among the most disliked foods. Thus, before cooking and serving porcini to your guests, it is considerate to ask whether some guests cannot eat them.
4) How to serve & present porcini
Porcini mushrooms are a prized food. They are appropriate for formal and informal meals. Porcini are typical in fall and winter recipes. Thus, it is not common to serve them in warm weather.
You can serve porcini as a side dish or complement. Present them in chunks or slices, in a serving shallow bowl. Provide a serving spoon. Pickled porcini can be served as an appetizer too.
5) Food and wine to pair porcini with
Porcini mushrooms go well with olive oil, butter, garlic, rosemary, and thyme. They are perfect for pasta, risotto, and polenta. Avoid adding porcini to red pizza, as they do not pair well with tomato sauce.
You can match porcini with eggs or red meats, such as beef, lamb, or venison. They go well with other mushrooms, such as chanterelle, and with black and white truffles. It is not common to pair porcini with pork, white meat, fish, or seafood. The best vegetables to combine porcini with are potatoes and spinach.
In general, porcini do not combine well with cheese and dairy. However, they can go well with Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano, or even Gorgonzola in pasta or risotto.
Porcini pairs best with full-bodied red wine. Suggestions include Barolo, Nebbiolo, Shiraz, Zinfandel, or Cabernet Sauvignon. The best white wine is an oaked Chardonnay.
6) How to eat porcini
Eat porcini with a fork and knife. When they are served in chunks or slices, avoid using the knife if possible.
It is not polite to discard porcini. They are a prized food, and every part of the mushroom is edible. Even if you dislike them, try to make an effort and eat some of them. Discarding all the porcini risks embarrassing your host.
Porcini etiquette: the worst mistakes
The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors.
A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.
Avoid the worst porcini etiquette mistakes.
- 9/10. Serving spoiled porcini.
- 6/10. Pairing porcini with the wrong flavors.
- 3/10. Serving porcini in warm weather.
Additional information for properly serving porcini
How many calories per serving?
Counting calories is important to stay healthy and plan a menu correctly.
Porcini mushrooms are mostly made of water. They contain about 26 calories per 100 grams (3.5 oz).
How to buy the best porcini
A crucial factor in porcini etiquette is serving your guests the best product possible.
Season and availability
The season for fresh porcini is between late summer and autumn. Dry and pickled porcini are available all year round.
Choose the best
Good fresh porcini must be firm. The young and small mushrooms are usually the best in texture and flavor. Larger porcini tend to soften and lose flavor.
Alternatives to porcini
As a substitute for porcini, try other mushrooms such as chanterelle or cremini.
- Verified the rapid evaluation of the edible safety of wild porcini mushrooms: pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov