Boletes are quite a large family of mushrooms whose main characteristic is the lack of gills - they have spongy pores on the underside of their caps instead. They're not all edible, but many are - and can be utterly delicious. I have my favourites, but am not fussy at all. I think that a few sliced wild mushrooms of any kind, gently frying in butter, with a little chopped onion and some salt and pepper is the most heavenly smell in the world and the base of many gorgeous dishes.
We went to Callendar Park near Falkirk on Sunday for a nice walk, and found a handful, topped up with a few larger specimens found on our way from work last night. Aside from last week's chanterelles, I now have birch boletes, bay boletes, suede boletes and slippery jacks (a.k.a. sticky buns) in my freezer. It's very satisfying!
|And another one, hiding under twigs. Suede boletes are quite soft mushrooms so unfortunately worms like them a lot. This little guy however was perfect.|
|Bay bolete. This size is perfect for pickling - although this time I didn't have enough of them to fill a jar.|
|Another bay bolete.|
|Birch boletes with their unmistakeable birch-like stems and flesh that turns blue within seconds of being cut. I absolutely love them. They're flavourful and very dense, which means you are very unlikely to find a worm inside!|
|Slippery jacks. It's the only mushroom I would peel (just the cap), as the skin is very sticky and impossible to clean.|