woods. We grow two different choice species of “chix.” The sulphur shelf is bright orange on the top and bright yellow (like sulphur) on its underside. It grows on tree stumps and sometimes on the side of trees. As it ages it can get a bit woody, so just take the soft outer edges. The Cincinnatus is pale orange on the top and off-white to white on the underside. It is usually found on the ground clinging to roots. This species is tender all the way through to the center and the entire mushroom can be eaten. Both mushrooms are meaty and fabulous. They have the texture of chicken and can be used in any dish that calls for chicken.
“Chicken” with Rosemary and Garlic
by Maxine Stone • Serves 8
- 1 cup wild rice
- 3 cups water
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium onion
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 2 cups Chicken of the Woods cleaned and sliced
- ¼ cup sherry (or more!)
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon capers
Boil the wild rice with 1 tablespoon butter and a pinch of salt, covered, on low heat for 55 minutes. Start preparing the remainder of the recipe about 15 minutes before the rice is done.
Split the onion down the center from the top, so that it separates into strips instead of rings, and slice. Crush or chop the garlic. Sauté the mushrooms for 5–10 minutes, until almost tender. Add the onions and garlic, and sauté. Add the 2 tablespoons butter, sherry, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat down just a bit, and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Remove pan from the heat and toss in the capers.
Pile the wild rice onto a serving platter, pile the sautéed mushroom mixture on top, and serve.
Blewits are a bit less common. They are a violet-tan color. They like open areas, paths and mulch piles. I found my first in a mulch pile in my backyard. That was a happy day! They have a delicate flavor and can be used well with pasta or grains.
If you find an edible mushroom but don’t have a recipe for it, I always suggest cooking it up in some onion and butter. Sauté until it gives off its liquid and this liquid evaporates.
Black Trumpets are small, very dark and hard to see. But once you find one, you’ll probably find a lot more. You may see your first in rocky, mossy hillsides. These mushrooms look fragile, but they are not. The taste is a little chewy and yet delicate. Since their color is so dark, they look beautiful in foods with contrasting color, such as scrambled eggs or squash soup.