Thursday, September 30, 2010
Never say never...
The Kitchen Genius has been on a quest to forage for wild mushrooms for years, but they just plain scare me. Nonetheless, we took a class with Lawrence Schuster, a member of the Boston Mycological Society,
last year thinking maybe if we learned more about it, it wouldn't be as dangerous - or scary. I was wrong. The class just convinced me that I would never eat a wild mushroom, never, ever, ever.
I publicly declared that sentiment in a story I wrote for the Cape Cod Times that ran yesterday. The focus of the story was that wild mushrooms were to risky, so last Friday KG and I attended a workshop to learn how to cultivate shiitake mushrooms. It was an awesome workshop taught by food writer Tamar Haspel who also has a fabulous blog called Starving off the Land that anyone who's into gardening and foraging for food will love.
After reading my Fun With Fungi story in the newspaper, local writer/fisherman Peter Budryk called me to tempt me to change my mind. I met Peter a few years ago when I wrote a story about his excellent book, The Innermost Waters: Fishing Cape Cod's Ponds & Lakes.
Peter also gave me a piece of the Chicken of the Woods he found. Isn't it beautiful?
Not knowing what to do with the Puffball, I turned to the Internet, where I found a wonderful recipe from Hope Miller, co-author of Mushrooms in Color. Following her directions, I cut the Puffball into half inch slices, and dipped them in seasoned flour, egg and then coated them with fresh grated Parmesan cheese. I fried them in butter until they were golden brown.
They were absolutely delicious. The flesh of the Puffball was soft and creamy and didn't have a strong flavor on its own. Adding the cheese coating made it taste just like a cheese stick. We ate some of them as snacks while the burgers cooked and then added a slice to the burgers when they were finished. Total YUM!
(recipe from Hope Miller, author of Hope's Mushroom Cookbook)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
About 1 pound puffballs, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 egg, slightly beaten with 2 tablespoons water
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons butter or more if needed
2 tablespoons oil or more if needed
Mix the salt with the flour. Dip the mushroom slices in the flour, then in the egg, and last, in the cheese. Melt the butter and oil in a sauté pan or skillet and sauté the mushrooms slowly until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve at once.
* Other mushrooms you can use in this recipe: Boletes, oyster mushrooms