I was curious to try this recipe - one of my favourite treats if I happen to be in Italy during Porcini season is to indulge in the pungent fungus at every possible opportunity. Porcini have been called one of God's great gifts to humanity, a rich, heady, meaty mushroom that is amazingly versatile, delicate enough to give grace to an elegant stew or sauce, and yet vigorous enough to stand up to something as flavourful as a thick grilled steak accompanied by a good Barolo.
Of course, one can't get fresh porcini here in Canada - but Marcella starts this recipe by suggesting that if you follow her instructions carefully the shitake mushroom caps will develop a flavour that is reminiscent of the fabled porcini.
The recipe is easy to follow - the mushrooms are washed, dried, and placed in a frying pan that has been coated with oil. After about 8 minutes the caps are turned over. Once the mushrooms have been slowly cooked and the liquid has evaporated you add the garlic, parsley, and additional olive oil. Five minutes later they are ready (this was the hard part - the scent from the pan was so 'foresty' that I wanted to dig in NOW.
So what was the verdict?
To be honest I doubt anyone familiar with porcini would mistake these for the famed mushroom. That being said - the taste was incredible! The flavour was far richer and deeper than one might expect from shitake.
I know that whenever I've cooking up mushrooms in the future this is the recipe that I shall follow!