In the continuing saga of the Great Frozen Porcini Investigation, FOTL took a new tack yesterday and eschewed defrosting altogether. Instead, the prime porcini buttons were exhumed from their chilly hibernation and cast directly into a red-hot skillet in the oven. Talk about going from the ice tray to the toaster.
With a little olive oil to smooth the transition, the porcini baked for 15 minutes by themselves at 400 degrees before the rest of the ingredients joined the party: our first zucchini from the garden, red pepper, and garlic. This colorful assortment roasted in their juices together for another 15 minutes before being turned and showered with fresh thyme and seasoned with salt and pepper. Another fifteen minutes and it was ready: homemade antipasti to go with the wild boar sausage I’d picked up earlier in the day at our local Italian deli.
In all truth, it would take an expert porcini palate to discern these beauties as previously frozen. Tender but not without resiliency, they evinced little of the water-logged sliminess that is characteristic of a defrosted mushroom, and the taste was mildly nutty as one would expect. While my first experiment was not exactly a mandate for freezing porcini buttons, in the future I will definitely assign a few batches of buttons to the cooler if only to have fresh-tasting roasted porcini all year long.
Stay tuned for another experiment soon.