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What Is Porcini Rub?

What Is Porcini Rub?

If you’re ever looking for a flavorful, easy to make rub for a steak or roasted chicken recipe, a porcini rub delivers a hearty, nutty taste. Porcini rubs can be made with a variety of spices and ingredients, but it centers around the dried Porcini mushroom.

Rubs can be dry or wet, and consist of a mix of seasonings that are applied to the outside of meat or poultry prior to cooking. Porcini rubs are typically dry and have a salty, savory flavor. 

Porcini Mushrooms: An Italian Delicacy with Disputed Origins

Porcini Mushroom

Porcini mushrooms have been around for centuries and can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who were believed to be the first to hold these mushrooms in such high esteem.

The latin name Boletus edulis means “clod of earth”, which is quite fitting for this hearty fungi that grows from the ground. Native to Europe and North America, Porcini mushrooms have spread to other regions across the world, including New Zealand and South Africa.

Today, there are more than 25 species of Boletus edulis, and they are most popular in Italian and French cuisine. 

However, there is still some dispute as to where the porcino mushroom originated from. Some recent studies have shown evidence for an Asian origin of Porcini mushrooms.

DNA sequences were analyzed in three gene markers from porcini samples across China and compared to other regions. Today, the Yunnan Province in southwestern China is one of the largest producers in the Eastern hemisphere.

What does Porcini taste like?

Porcini mushrooms have a strong, nutty, earthy flavor, making them popular in creamy pasta dishes, soups, side dishes with meat, and sautéed on their own.

They are also popular among vegetarian dishes, as they have a tender, meaty texture when cooked, due in part to their thick stem and rounded cap. While most porcini mushrooms used in cooking are a few inches wide, their caps can grow up to 12 inches in diameter.

Porcini mushrooms are delicious on their own when braised or sautéed, or can be added to many savory Italian, French, or American dishes. 

Why Are Porcini Mushrooms Expensive?

Most fresh Porcini is found in Europe, while you’ll typically find dried versions in the United States.

Fresh Porcini can cost anywhere from $30 to $60 per pound, while a bag of dried Porcini could be anywhere from $10 to $50 depending on the quality.

Porcini mushrooms are typically more pricey because:

  • Can be hard to find fresh, and not easily cultivated
  • Oftentimes have to be imported
  • They have a relatively short season (late spring to the fall), which means they are not available fresh year-round
  • They are not available in all regions of the world

They are highly sought after mushrooms because they are versatile in cooking and rich in nutrients like protein and fiber.

What makes Porcini mushrooms especially unique is their mycorrhizal quality. This means that fungus has a symbiotic relationship with the roots of plants nearby, especially hardwood trees like pine, hemlock, and spruce.

The fungus gets access to sugars from the plant’s roots, while the plant receives water and nutrients from underground growth of the mushroom called the mycelia. 

When To Use Dried or Fresh Porcini Mushrooms

Fresh Porcini Mushrooms

Fresh porcini is used in a variety of pasta dishes, such as pasta fettucini, creamy ravioli, tagliatelle, and pappardelle. Because the mushroom is so flavorful and hearty, it’s also often served alone as a side dish and can be grilled, braised, fried, or sautéed.

When buying fresh porcini, you should also look for caps with a reddish, brown tint and avoid a porcino with a dark under-cap or black spots.

Brush off any dirt with a paper towel, and when you’re ready to use them, you can wash them lightly in cold water.

Dried Porcini Mushrooms

When making a porcini rub, you’ll definitely want to use dried porcini mushrooms. The dryness allows you to grind the mushrooms into a fine powder and combine it with other seasonings and ingredients.

Dried porcini also goes extremely well in soups, broths, sauces, and risotto, since they absorb the liquid for a chewy, soft texture and provide a nutty flavor. When looking for dried porcini in the supermarket, make sure the bag has full pieces of mushrooms instead of crumbly pieces and dust.

The more intact the mushroom is, the better the flavor. While they may not be as versatile as fresh porcini, they can add a deep flavor to many recipes.

Finding the Right Porcini Rub Ingredients

VIGOROUS MOUNTAINS Dried Porcini Mushrooms Boletus Edulis 3 Ounce

Porcini rubs can be as simple or elaborate as you want them to be. You can have a long list of spices and seasonings, or keep it minimal with the porcini mushrooms and a few other ingredients.

In addition to standard salt and black pepper, popular ingredients in porcini rubs include:

  • Minced garlic
  • Onion
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Fennel seeds
  • Rosemary
  • Soy sauce (for a wet rub)

Porcini rubs are ideal for big cuts of steak or poultry (even quail!). Experiment with different ingredients based on what else you’re serving to complement flavors.

How to Prepare a Porcini Rub for Steak

Porcini rubs can turn any piece of meat into a savory, flavorful cut of steak. You can grill or sautée in a pan after covering both sides with your preferred porcini rub.

When preparing a porcini rub, you’ll want a bag of dried porcini mushrooms, which you will need to grind in a spice or coffee grinder. The mushrooms should be ground into a fine powder, then mixed with the other seasonings.

Once you coat the steak, you can grill in a pan with olive oil over medium-high heat, typically for 5-7 minutes per side.

Classic Porcini Rub Recipe

This simple recipe from the Food Network brings out the porcini mushroom fragrance and lets it dominate the rub flavor.  

  • ¼ c. dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. red pepper flakes

To make the rub, grind the porcini mushrooms separately first. Next, grind the minced garlic and granulated sugar, also separately. Add all ingredients together for a rub mixture and coast on either side of your steak with olive oil

Are Porcini Mushrooms Good for You?

Porcini mushrooms are high in dietary fiber, iron, B vitamins, potassium, zinc, and selenium. They are also low in saturated and unsaturated fat, and the dietary fiber can help stimulate digestion.

Additionally, they are high in antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation in the body. All in all, they’re a great, nutrient-dense food that anyone can incorporate into their diet. While a porcini rub may not have a high volume of mushrooms, you can still feel good knowing it’s a healthy, flavor-rich addition to any cut of meat. 

Today, mushroom powder is all the rage and you see it being added to smoothies, coffee, bread, soups, and more.

Studies show that incorporating mushroom bioactive compounds can have a medicinal effect, improving energy, reducing inflammation, and supporting healthy nerve function.

In fact, mushrooms are being researched and explored in the pharmaceutical industry for their beneficial properties. Many mushroom powders on the market use porcini, including Four Sigmatic, Laird Superfoods, and Spice Jungle.  

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Gourmet Porcini Sea Salt - All-Natural Sea Salt Blended with Premium Dried Porcini Mushrooms - No Gluten, No MSG, Non-GMO - Cooking and Finishing Salt - 4 oz. Stackable Jar
  • A MUSHROOM LOVER'S DREAM SALT: Pure, all natural sea salt and dried premium porcini mushroom give this gourmet sea salt its delicious taste and earthly aroma. Try it on pasta, soups, potatoes, fish, rice, or roasted vegetables, tomatoes, dipping oil, or even as a rub on chicken or meat. It’s the perfect balance of mushroom and salt that makes it great for Mediterranean and Italian dishes. This Sea Salt pairs perfectly with an array of herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage.
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Bestseller No. 4
s.a.l.t. sisters Garlicky Wild Mushroom Rub & Seasoning - Dry Barbecue Rub & Wet Rub Seasoning Base - Herb & Spice Blend Perfect for Chicken Wings, Brisket, Pulled Pork - Non-GMO - No Cumin - 16 oz
  • Take your meatballs to the next level with s.a.l.t. sisters Garlicky Wild Mushroom Rub & Seasoning! The base is unrefined sea salt. Earthy porcini mushrooms are enhanced with onion, lemon peel, and savory herbs, perfect for anyone who craves umami. Contains no cumin, making this a great choice for people sensitive to the smell of that spice. Available in 3 ounces & 16 ounces / 1 pound.
  • Take your meatballs to the next level with s.a.l.t. sisters Garlicky Wild Mushroom Rub & Seasoning! The base is unrefined sea salt. Earthy porcini mushrooms are enhanced with onion, lemon peel, and savory herbs, perfect for anyone who craves umami. Contains no cumin, making this a great choice for people sensitive to the smell of that spice. Available in 3 ounces & 16 ounces / 1 pound.
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  • Easy to use right out of the package! Sprinkle or massage it into your food as a dry rub. Or, combine with olive oil or vinegar to create a wet rub. Works well for all beef dishes, from burgers to stroganoff, or even just sprinkled over steak. Also fantastic in soups, on eggs, and in rice dishes.
  • Creates a mouthwatering aroma when heated, filling your space with warm, comforting smells. Enjoy indoors or outdoors, on the grill, stovetop, or in the oven, no matter what the time of year. And not limited to just beef--use it as the flavoring for chicken cacciatore. Toss with steamed vegetables. Add a teaspoon or two to a pot of boiling rice or couscous.