January 29, 2009

My new chef, Tony Esnault, teaches us how to preserve Porcini mushrooms

Now that Chef Pierre has moved onto Benoit in New York City,  where he is a partner and the executive chef, I have invited Chef Tony Esnault to cook in my kitchen, and I might add, with very pleasing results.  Recently, Tony arrived with a large quantity of porcini mushrooms and he demonstrated how to preserve, or can them for future use.  He likes to have a supply in reserve for use as garnish, for delicious soups, and for other recipes.

Porcini are especially delicious wild mushrooms that have long been a treasure in European cuisine because of their meaty texture and their deep and woodsy flavor.  These mushrooms are also quite versatile.  They’re exquisite in delicate sauces and soups, and are a flavorful addition to hearty stews or as an accompaniment to roasted meats.  Quite often, porcini are preserved by drying them, so I was very interested to see Tony’s method of canning these lovely fungi.  As you will see, there is a lot going on in these kitchen shots and nothing goes to waste.  Come, have a look.

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