Traditionally, confit denotes meat that has been marinated in salt and herbs, then slowly and gently cooked in its own fat, the end result being a nice and meltingly tender piece of meat. For this preparati0n I use the word confit to express the end result and texture, soft juicy, and full of flavor.
Hands down, this is one of the easiest, most flavorful, and simplest ways to cook and preserve mushrooms, especially firm mushrooms like chicken of the woods, hen of the woods, dryad's saddles, and very firm boletes such as scaber stalks. Remember that when freezing mushrooms you must cook them before they are frozen, since otherwise they will have a bitter flavor with a spongy, soft texture.
After your mushrooms are confitted, you can take them out of their liquid and reheat them, add them to a salad or whatever you like, they are very versatile.
Wild Mushroom Confit
Polypores, and young boletes are great for this, if you want to use an older bolete or agaric, remove the pores or gills before confitting.
Usually after I cook the mushrooms slowly in oil like this, I will refrigerate them, then reheat them in their juice before adding to other dishes as a garnish.
- 1 lb wild mushrooms, such as young dryad saddles or boletes
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Some herbs of your choice,I would recommend savory, thyme, or sage
- 1 clove of garlic, lightly crushed
- Take your mushrooms,and cut them into pieces, ½ in thick should be fine.
- Place the mushrooms in freezer bags along with a small amount of aromatic herbs, the oil, and the garlic.
- Close the ziploc bags, leaving one corner open just wide enough so that you can suck the air out. Suck the air out of the bag, it should look like it was vacuum sealed. This is important as it will help the mushroom not to float in the water and cook unevenly, also, if the mushrooms are to be refrigerated after poaching, this lack of air will further extend their shelf life. Double bag the mushrooms in another plastic bag and repeat, this should stop any water from entering and diluting their flavor.
- Now bring a pot of water to a boil, turn off the heat and add your double bagged mushrooms and then weight them down with something that will not crush them, like a small plate. All you really want to do here is keep them under the hot water and prevent them from rising, which would cause them to cook unevenly.
- Leave the mushrooms in the water for 20 minutes, or until they are fully cooked and have exuded their juice. then remove the bag and and freeze or refrigerate immediately.