Cooking with wild mushrooms


Fresh Sautéed Porcini Demiglace


  • 1 Cup Porcini Mushrooms
  • 1 to 2 Cups Water (depending on pot)
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  1. From a fresh collection of Porcini (the popular Italian name for Boletus edulis or the King Bolete) remove any mature sponge from below the caps. (The spore bearing sponge of Porcini turns from white to yellow and then to dark olive-green as it matures with the production of spores. The young white sponge is delectable and should be left in place; but the maturing sponge becomes increasingly less attractive texturally as it darkens, and many find it unsavory if cooked up as is with the rest of the mushroom.)

  2. Place the sponge material in a large pot, cover with ample water, and simmer for an hour or more, then strain contents to yield a viscous porcini stock.

  3. Select prime Porcini flesh. Clean, and cut to generous portions. If the caps providing the mature sponge prove reasonably free from infestation (not always the case), select them, as they have developed the greatest flavor and a charming marshmallow texture.

  4. Brown the Porcini slabs, chunks, or slices in a pan with olive oil on 2 or more sides. Salt and pepper as desired.

  5. Add Porcini stock to pan to almost cover mushrooms. Braise contents until stock darkens and thickens to demiglace consistency. Correct seasoning. Serve as appetizer with baguette, or as topping for meats, or with pasta, potato or rice.
Golden Chanterelles with Pear in Port Sauce


  • 1 Cup Golden Chanterelles
  • Splash of ruby port, or similar late-harvest or dessert wine
  • Sliced pears
  • 1 Cube Butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Cut Chanterelles into generously-sized slices. Brown in butter for approximately 7-10 minutes.

  2. Douse with a heavy splash of ruby port and reduce.

  3. Add sliced pears before or as heat is shut, depending on ripeness of pear. Stir gently.

  4. Polish with knob of butter. Season with salt and pepper, to taste

To serve as an appetizer:
Spear pear and mushroom simultaneously with toothpick, or heap on cracker or baguette. To serve as a main dish:
Incorporate with duck confit and wild rice for delightful entrée.

Safe tips for handling and eating of wild mushrooms:

  • First and foremost: Be sure you have properly identified your mushroom specimen as a known edible.

  • Eat only pristine flesh. Being an edible species does not make it an edible specimen.

  • Don't worry about the occasional bug. Just evict the little guy, but do not eat flesh of compromised quality. Trust your nose; it knows spoilage.

  • Clean your mushrooms of any dirt and debris. Dirt is not gourmet. Discreet use of water is OK, if needed.

  • Cook your mushrooms. Many "edible" mushrooms can make you ill if not cooked.

  • Store fresh mushrooms best cold, wrapped in paper or cloth, inside plastic containers (flesh contact with plastic makes them sweat).

  • Beware of mushroom dish leftovers. They are more susceptible than most to spoilage.
Event information:
Truffle Foray Tour to Piemonte, Italy
October 3 - 11

If you're interested in mushrooms, join your local non-profit mycological society. In the greater Bay Area, that would be Mycological Society of San Francisco.

About David Campbell, founder of MycoVentures:
David Campbell has been collecting, studying, eating, teaching and writing about wild mushrooms for 40 years. He has served many years on the council of the Mycological Society of San Francisco (MSSF), including 2 years as president. David voluntarily serves the San Francisco Poison Control Center for mushroom poisoning incident response in Marin County and the greater Bay Area. With a primary focus on edible and poisonous mushrooms, he leads innumerable fungal forays for MSSF and the Sonoma Mycological Association (SOMA). David was foray leader and event facilitator for several years at renowned author David Arora's annual mycological field seminars. As an expert mycophagist (one who safely eats a wide variety of wild mushrooms) and experienced outdoor group foray leader, David is 'Foray Director' for Wild About Mushrooms Company, guiding organized wild mushroom adventures, locally and afar. He recently formed his own company, MycoVentures, Inc., expanding his horizons to include the rest of the planet, for events such as Porcini hunts in the Colorado Rockies and off-the-beaten-path truffle forays in Italy.

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