Wednesday, October 15, 2008

ABC Wednesday - M is for Mushrooms

Guest photographer, my elder son Lamont, picked these chantrelles (left) and lobster mushrooms (right) last Thursday, east of Portland.

He picked these chantrelles on Monday, off Highway 26, west of Portland.

All of them ended up at 3 Doors Down Cafe, where he's the sous chef, as part of nightly specials. Needless to say, the arrival of such fresh bounty excited Dave, 3 Doors Down's chef/owner.

Here's some Wikipedia info about both kinds of mushrooms:

Chantarelle or Golden chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius) is probably the best known species of this genus Cantharellus. It is orange or yellow, meaty and funnel-shaped. On the lower surface, underneath the smooth cap, it has gill-like ridges that run almost all the way down its stipe, which tapers down seamlessly from the cap. It has a fruity smell reminiscent of apricots and a mildly peppery taste, and is considered an excellent food mushroom. Scientific research has suggested that the golden chanterelle may have potent insecticidal properties that are harmless against humans and yet protects the mushroom body against insects and other potentially harmful organisms.

Lobster mushroom (Hypomyces lactifluorum) is not, in the truest sense of the word, actually a mushroom. It is a parasitic ascomycete that grows on mushrooms, turning them a reddish orange color that resembles the outer shell of a cooked lobster. It colonizes members of the genera Lactarius (Milk-caps) and Russula, such as Russula brevipes and Lactarius piperatus in North America. At maturity, H. lactifluorum thoroughly covers its host, rendering it unidentifiable. Lobster mushrooms are widely eaten and enjoyed; they are commercially marketed and are commonly found in some large grocery stores. They have a seafood-like flavor and a firm, dense texture. According to some, they may taste somewhat spicy if the host mushroom is an acrid Lactarius.

1 comment:

casey said...

I had some chantrelles at Ken's Artisan bakery recently, and they were so delicious! on a pizza! Is it hard to find them??