Friday, October 14, 2011

Chicken Mushrooms for Dinner

Above is a Chicken Mushrooms, growing on an unidentifiable(at least to my abilities) chunk of soggy, decomposing stump. It's also known as a sulphur self, and is considered a good beginner mushroom. It has no toxic lookalikes, it is easy to spot(If not always common to find), and it's very, very tasty.

I've heard that Chicken Mushrooms growing on coniferous wood are better avoided, and my soggy stump was growing in a cedar grove. I've never actually found one of these mushrooms before, and I was very anxious to taste it, so I ignored that warning to no ill effect. The older 'shelves' where a bit oozy at the edges, but the smaller ones where clean and crisp. I just took a few, and later wished I'd not been so hesitant. I should have taken every bit of edible mushroom there!

A few hours later, I unwrapped my mushrooms, and cleaned them by brushing off any visible debris with a dry cloth. Chicken mushrooms are smooth on the underside, being polypores, and have no gills for soil and insects to hide in, so this step is quick and easy. It's often suggested that all but very young mushrooms be steamed or boiled, to keep them tender. I sauteed mine in olive oil until slightly golden-brown on the outside, and enjoyed the tougher texture. The meat of the mushroom will peel or shred like poultry and is a chicken-like pale cream on the inside. I also tried roasting one directly over the fire, but it pulled in all the bitterness of the smoke and was no good to eat. For more information on the Chicken Mushroom, head over here. Note the dire warnings.

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