Penny Bun Boletus edulis is a very popular mushroom. It has many common name Cep in France, Porcini in Italy, Steinpilz in Germany and Hrib in Romania. The generic name Boletus comes from the Greek bolos, meaning ”lump of clay”, while the specific epithet edulis means ”edible”.
Penny Buns are found in woodlands, commonly with oak, birch, beech and pine.
It is a very distinctive looking mushroom with chunky stem and small ‘out of proportion’ cap. They can sometimes pop up in abundance or smaller groups, but are often solitary near/under broad-leaved and coniferous trees.
The picking season can be as early as June or July, but often show up from August to September.
Porcini have a smooth, meaty texture and pungent, woodsy flavour that is much regaled. This mushroom has a high protein content, which makes them a great meat substitute in vegetarian dishes.
When dried, Penny Bun has more protein than all other commonly consumed vegetables apart from soybeans.
Porcini mushrooms have a distinctly strong and unique flavour. Their meaty texture holds up to roasting, sautéing and braising. Add to fresh pastas, rice, and meat stews. Pair with dried fruits, fresh herbs, fresh cow and sheep’s milk cheeses and cured meats. Porcini freeze well but should be used within a week when fresh.
Try to purchase whole dried mushrooms with a strong smell. Avoid packages made up of too much dust or crumbled pieces, as the flavour is not likely to be very strong.