Thursday, October 7, 2010

Early Autumn Harvest

Three inches of rain brought a good harvest of mushrooms common to fields and grass. Both Meadow Mushrooms, Agaricus campestris, and Purple-spored Puffballs, Calvatia cyanthiformis, were plentiful enough to satiate my hunger for wild mushrooms, at least temporarily.

This is a basket of very fresh Meadow Mushrooms. Closely related to the white button and Portobello mushrooms at the grocers, the ones picked from the wild are more flavorful. Most of these will be dried and become part of a mushroom ragu recipe using red wine and cavatelli.
Agaricus campestris, Meadow Mushrooms

A basket of Purple-spored Puffballs sits on the grass from where they were picked. If their destiny is the kitchen, select young, firm puffballs with a uniform pure white interior.
Calvatia cyanthiformis, Purple-Spored Puffballs

These are the Meadow Mushrooms sauteed in butter and spread on top of toasted pumpernickel bread. Thin slivers of Swiss cheese are melted to keep the mushrooms in place. The cooked mushrooms are very dark and compliment the color of the pumpernickel.
Agaricus campestris, Meadow Mushrooms

This hearty breakfast has fried puffball slices placed on a scrambled egg while still in the skillet so the slices get cooked into place. Egg and mushrooms then top-off a toasted bagel. The puffball is a uniform white inside. Fry puffball slices over low heat to avoid off flavors and aromas.
Calvatia cyanthiformis, Purple-Spored Puffball

These are the dried Meadow Mushrooms to be used in making mushroom ragu. Hopefully, I will find some Maitake, Grifola frondosa, that can also be included in the ragu.
Agaricus campestris, Meadow Mushrooms

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