How to Cook Wild Mushrooms – Fall Mushrooming
Fall is my favorite time of year; I love hunting for mushrooms in the cool crisp autumn air! I love hunting for white chanterelles, matsutakes, hedgehog mushrooms and whatever edibles I can find.
Super Secret Chanterelle Patch
Cooking wild mushrooms can be tricky. I always dry saute most my fresh wild mushrooms, usually with onions. Wild mushrooms have a high water content so if you just add a bunch of butter and fry, they will turn into a slimy mess! That’s what turns most people off from eating mushrooms. Using the right cooking techniques for the right mushrooms is important. For fussy eaters you can try mixing them in with pasta so the textures just blend.
Steps for cooking: slice your wild mushrooms up and throw them into a a stainless steel pan; non-stick pans are not good to use because the mushrooms will pick up an odd flavor! Below are my favorite white chanterelles; much firmer and tastier than the yellow chanterelles. Sometimes you can find them in farmer’s markets and are usually cheaper! They cook up golden just like the yellow chanterelles. I added a little chopped onion; garlic can easily over power wild mushrooms especially chanterelles. Shallots work nicely with mushrooms too.
Dry Saute Chanterelle Mushrooms
Continue dry sauteing the moisture out of your wild mushrooms. Don’t worry about the mushrooms sticking to the pan; within minutes you will get a “soup” of liquid. Check out all of the liquid in my Bear’s Head Coral mushrooms:
Cooking Bear’s Head Coral Mushrooms
Continue to saute until all of the liquid is gone. You can add all of the butter you want at the end of cooking when all of the excess moisture is gone. Then you can either serve as a side dish, just add a little salt and pepper, or add to a main dish. My favorite chanterelle dish is pasta, chanterelles, onion, a little fresh chopped rosemary, Parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts. The rosemary gives the dish an earthy woodsy taste. I also love wild mushroom risotto.
Add butter at the end of cooking wild mushrooms!
Cooking Bolete Mushrooms: Bolete mushrooms can be extra slimy! Dry sauteing fresh new bolete buttons in this manner works great but the bigger, more mature boletes tend to taste (and feel) best if dried. The drying enhances the flavor and for some reason they are less slimy. My favorite bolete dish is pasta and boletes with cream sauce. You can also powder the dried mushrooms to add to soups and sauces.
Matsutake mushrooms are special. Sauteing would kill the earthy cinnamon pine aroma and flavor! It is best to grill these to enhance the roasty flavor. Since I don’t have an outdoor grill, I use a George Foreman grill! I first brush them lightly with sesame oil. After grilling I like to slice them very thin and add them to to a Japanese style sir fry or noodles. They are also great pickled!
Freezing wild mushrooms
Freezing fresh mushrooms usually doesn’t work very well; they can get super slimy. Freezing dry sauted mushrooms works like a charm; they can stay frozen for months and taste great! A Food Saver would be perfect for this! It is fun to have mushrooms all year round!
Laeliporous conifericola, chicken of the woods; photo Raoul LeBlanc
Be sure you know what you are picking! Take a class, get a book and go out with experts several times to learn more about mushrooms!
How many matsutakes can you find?
I love the challenge of finding mushrooms too! I think there were seven of them in this patch! Just when we found these we spotted a deer:
Find the deer!
Do you love mushrooming or cooking wild mushrooms? Comments welcomed here!