The Cep (Penny Bun, King Bolete) Wild Mushroom
The King of all mushrooms - and totally delicious! I love this one. Simply pan fry it with salted butter (and a touch of garlic if you wish)
Here are Various Identifying Descriptions:
Porcini (Boletus edulis, the taxonomic name) is a highly regarded edible mushroom. It has a number of English names, including cep (from its Catalan name cep or its French name cèpe), king bolete and penny bun. A common term in current use is porcini. This mushroom has a distinct aroma reminiscent of fermented dough. The mushroom can grow singly or in clusters. Its habitat consists of areas dominated by oak, pine, spruce, and fir trees. Not limited to these locations, the King Bolete is also found in hardwood forests containing oaks. It fruits from summer to autumn.
* fungus colour: Brown
* normal size: over 15cm
* cap type: Convex to shield shaped
* stem type: Bulbous base of stem, Simple stem
* spore colour: Olivaceous
Brown cap often with a whitish bloom at first gradually lost on expanding leaving a white line at the margin, smooth and dry initially becoming greasy, in wet weather slightly viscid and polished. Stem 30–230 x 30–70(110)mm, robust, pallid with white net. Flesh white, unchanging, flushed dirty straw-colour or vinaceous in cap. Taste and smell pleasant. Tubes white becoming grey-yellow. Pores small and round, similarly coloured. Spore print olivaceous snuff-brown.
When you cut them lengthways - the insides remain white. the underside of the cap is always sponge like on a Cep. Large brown mushroom with pores (rather than gills) on the underside of the cap. Said to look like a penny bun.
The major difference between the boletes and gill fungi. is that in the boletes the basidia are located on the inner surface of numerous tubes, which are typically vertically arranged on the lower surface of the pileus (except in Gastroboletus). These tubes, or gills in the case of mushrooms, are commonly designated as the hymenophore, or the part of the basidiocarp bearing the hymenium. The hymenium, in turn, is a layer of rather closely packed basidia plus distinctive sterile cells called cystidia. Another difference noted in the field is that, although some mushrooms grow on logs or other woody substrates, only a few boletes are found consistently on such substrates, and most occur in the soil or humus in the vicinity of woody plants.
A thick stalked mushroom with a round cap.
Native to Europe and found growing wild beneath beech and coniferous trees, in summer and autumn.Brush or wipe clean, trim off the end of stalk. (Wash gently if very dirty). Do not peel. Often found in shops as dried version, add to warm water to allow to re-hydrate for around an hour, retain the liquid and add to dish. Add to soups, sauces, casseroles or omelettes, or sauté.
Types of Cep (Bolete)
Spindle Stemmed Bolete
Boletes to Avoid - Poisonous
White Cracking Bolete
La Gals Bolete
Please note the above lists are not exhaustive. Always check first
Here is some further information about the Cep
Porcini (or King Boletus or Cep)
Boletes resemble ordinary mushrooms, but instead of gills have small round pores or tubes through which the spores are shed.
The King Boletus (taxonomic name Boletus edulis) is a highly prized edible mushroom. It has a number of English names, including cep (from its Catalan name cep or its French name cèpe), penny-bun and King Bolete. A name in common use is porcini (from the plural of its Italian name porcino). The scientific name derives from the Latin stem bolet-,
which means "superior mushroom" and edulis, meaning edible, and describes the species' culinary qualities. This mushroom has a higher water content than other edible mushrooms and has a distinct aroma reminiscent of fermented dough.
Boletus edulis can be found most commonly in Europe, Asia and North America. The Borgotaro area of Parma in Italy holds an Annual Festival of the Porcini. In South Africa it has been growing plentifully in pine forests around the country for more than 50 years, after being introduced with the pine trees, and has also been found in New Zealand.
The mushroom can grow singly or in small clusters of two or three specimens. It is common in woods (especially beech woods) in summer and autumn. Its habitat often consists of areas dominated by pine, spruce, Eastern hemlock and fir trees, but it is also found in hardwood forests containing oaks. It fruits from summer to autumn, following sustained rainfall. A hot humid summer induces growth. This mushroom can also be
found during the autumn in Syria and Lebanon where it grows in large clusters on decaying oak tree stumps.
The cap of this mushroom is convex, and 5–30 cm in diameter. At first, the cap is white then develops to mostly reddish-brown fading to white in areas near the margin; the colour continues to darken as it matures to a brown, smooth, moist, shining cap. The flesh is chalky white, often tinged with pink. Beneath is a spongy mass of vertical tubes, white at first, becoming yellowish-green, and eventually brown, in which the brown spores are
produced. These pores do not stain when bruised. The stalk is stout, pale brown, with a fine network of raised, white veins towards the top and is 8–25 cm in height, and up to 7 cm thick, which is rather large in comparison to the cap. Fully mature specimens can weigh about 1 kg. However, the most appreciated by gourmets are the young small porcini, which are dense and tan to pale brown in colour, as the large ones often
harbour insect larvae, and they become slimy, soft and less tasty with age.
Although the King Boletus is quite distinctive, caution is required when identifying it as the related species the Dotted-Stemmed Bolete (Boletus erythropus) which is found from later Summer to Early Autumn can cause stomach upsets, especially if eaten raw. The stem of this mushroom turns blue very quickly when bruised and the cap bruises to a black blue colour.
Chefs consider porcini to be one of the finest-tasting wild mushrooms. For centuries Ancient Greeks and Romans thought them to be the best of all edible mushrooms and even today many famous chefs continue to believe this to be true. Porcini mushrooms lacks aroma, but are well valued for their meaty texture, interesting flavour and distinguishing shape. The flavour is nutty, meaty, buttery, savoury, almost sweet, with
a smooth, creamy texture. When fresh, porcini can be eaten and enjoyed raw as well as fried, sautéed with butter, ground into pasta, in risotto, in soups, and served with veal
and game. They are a feature of many cuisines, including Provençal and Viennese. They can also be dried by stringing them separately on twine and hanging close to the ceiling of a kitchen for later use in casseroles and soups. Drying the porcini seems to accentuate its sweet and meaty overtones, reducing "l'eau du terre" (smell of the earth) that
distinguishes fresh boletes. Once dry, they are best kept in an airtight container. Drying them in the oven is not advised as it can result in them being cooked and spoiling. When reconstituted, the liquid retrieved from soaking them makes a perfect soup base, needing almost no additions.
Recipe for Porcini Parmesan (serves 4 to 6)
1-2 large, fresh, firm porcini mushrooms
225g sliced mozzarella cheese
50g cup grated Parmesan cheese
small onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp minced parsley
Pinches of dried basil, marjoram, and oregano, or other Italian
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
660g can of tomato sauce
bread crumbs - finely ground
Heat some olive oil in a large frypan. Add onions and garlic and sauté over low heat until onions are translucent. Stir in parsley, herbs, salt, pepper, and tomato sauce. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Slice the mushrooms into ½ cm thick slices. Remove the spongy area underneath the more solid cap of the mushroom. Beat the egg and milk together in a bowl. Dip the slices of mushroom into the egg mixture then dust with bread crumbs. Heat some olive oil in a large frypan to medium heat. Fry the porcini on both sides, adding more oil as needed, until golden brown. In a 2-quart baking dish, layer sauce, mushrooms, mozzarella, topping layers off with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350° F for 1 hour.
Like many casserole style dishes this recipe tastes even better the following day, after the flavours are allowed to seep into the mushrooms. You may want to make it ahead of time and reheat it when you want to eat it.