Porcini Lamb Chops

Porcini Lamb Chops

Dried porcini mushrooms are a good ingredient to have in your kitchen. They keep indefinitely at room temperature and can easily be reconstituted for use with pasta, risotto, soups and sauces. Or you can simply blitz the heck out of them and turn them into dust.

Porcini mushroom dust is a magical elixir, fragrant with umami-rich aroma and flavor, and a gorgeous ingredient to add to rubs and marinades. Its earthy, smoky flavor melds beautifully with garlic and herbs, such as rosemary and thyme, and is an excellent complement to meats, such as beef and lamb, when used as a rub.

While dried porcini mushrooms are pricey by the pound, the good news is that you don’t need a lot of them to make this rub — all you need is a half-ounce. When the mushrooms are dried, their flavor intensifies, so a little goes a long way. Other dried mushrooms, such as shiitakes, may be substituted, but in terms of flavor, the porcini is best. I use a spice grinder to blitz the mushrooms before mixing them with the rub ingredients, for a pasty consistency. If you don’t have a spice grinder, you can use a mini-food processor, with slightly coarser results.

Note: If the dried mushrooms are slightly spongy and not entirely crisp before grinding, cut them into ½-inch pieces, spread on a small baking tray, and place in a 300-degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature before grinding.

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Lynda Balslev is the co-author of “Almonds: Recipes, History, Culture” (Gibbs Smith, 2014). Contact her at TasteFood, c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or send email to tastefood@tastefoodblog.com. Or visit the TasteFood blog at tastefoodblog.com.

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