Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Third year shroomin'

Except for the morels, my knowledge of mushrooms is pretty skinny. The fall of 2010 was a wet one around here, and the resultant bloom of fungal fruits in the woods of the home place was prolific and spectacular. That got me going. Going in a number of new directions.  One direction was to the internet / blogosphere, field guides, friends and acquaintances  -  to learn what I could about identification of edible mushrooms. Lots of good stuff and good people out there - lots of junk, as well.  So, I profess nothing about the ID or procurement of wild mushrooms, only relate the most recent, delicious encounter.  Blondie still thinks I'm nuts.

The last week of May produced what I thought were the right conditions for oyster mushrooms to erupt.  Three plus inches of rain the previous week, temps in the mid 80's, plenty of dead aspen, inoculated from last June's incredible blush of oyster fruit. What do the texts say ?  Not exactly conflicting information - more like non specific information in terms of both timing and location.  May seems a bit early. But what the hell- I know what they look like, right ?  But then, oh there's that voice of caution rattling round the brain. The other rattling voice (but one of many) gets the nod,  "Bugger off caution, I'm hunting now".

So, before I even get 200 feet from the barn, I encounter the first group of oysters, just hanging there like a big load of free meat.  Wow, this going to be good I think - and yes indeed they were hanging out in all the usually places. So, I cut about a pound from the upright husk of a big-toothed aspen. Only a couple of beetles present that were easily brushed away  -  and I am a pig in shit !

So to home and kitchen.  I went a couple of different ways with this sweet tasting pleasure - light and dark.   Both worked for me, and I reckon that the variants to these are limitless:


2 Tsp butter
2 Tsp extra virgin olive oil  
1/2 pound sliced  oyster mushrooms
1/4 small onion diced
3 bigass bluegill fillets cut into 2 " chunks
salt & pepper
white wine
3 Tsp flour
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 lemon
flat leaf parsely

Sweat the onions & musrooms in the oil & butter until tender
season w/ salt & pepper
remove from pan
deglaze with a dash of white wine
make a rue with the flour and chicken stock and a bit of water, if needed - let thicken
add the tarragon and bring to simmer
add back the mushrooms & onions, the fish, the squeezed lemon juice and flat parsley
simmer till fish are just done - two minutes for bluegills
season again, as desired


2Tsp butter
2Tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound sliced oyster mushrooms
1/4 small onion diced
1/2 pound red meat (in this case, left over venison roast)
raspberry vinegar
3Tsp flour
meat stock (venison drippings here)
fresh spinach, rough chopped

Pretty much the same method as the first one, except at the very end , add in the fresh spinach and let it wilt down for a couple of minutes.

Both of these dished were sweet and fruity due to the mushrooms, but the dark one is, well,   dark, with the venison and spinach. 

Now if I can find chanterells later in the season, that will be something else !