Experiments: Mushroom Oil
Version 1: Simple soaking
Ground one oz. porcini mushrooms lightly with mortar & pestle.
Heated two cups olive oil pretty hot in microwave. Added mushrooms. Let
sit two days.
Result: no significant result. Mushrooms did not appreciably
soak into the oil.
Version 2: Grind & boil
Ground one oz. porcini mushrooms to powder with electric coffee grinder.
Put in pot with one cup olive oil. Heated to frothing; let simmer about
ten minutes. Let cool, bottle. Shake periodically for first two days.
Most mushroom powder has settled, but oil is still cloudy. Bottle has
an almost overwhelming aroma of porcini. Decanted oil into separate jar
from settled powder. Oil still primarily yellow, not the rich brown of
most mushroom oils. Does still smell strong, though.
Flavor came out pretty well -- moderately rich and pretty tasty. Never
did get that rich brown color, though.
Version 3: Bake, grind, and mix
Toasted 2/3 oz porcini in toaster oven. Half were actually toasted,
the other half baked at 350. Both versions browned very fast. To
my surprise, the baked half went faster, apparently because the element
was so close. Pulled out before they scorched.
Mixed with 1 cup oil, and left to soak. Did not boil this time. Shake
periodically for first two days.
Result: Strong smell of slightly-burnt mushroom in the
oil, but no particular flavor and no dark color. How do they
get that color?