I went on my very first mushroom hunt last weekend where I learnt a major lesson – if the world was coming to an end, and all that was left were wild mushrooms and I had to forage them for food, I would either starve to death, or be tragically poisoned. True story. I am totally hopeless at mushroom foraging.
This little excursion was led by professionals who attempted to teach us how to identify the various types of wild mushrooms. We trudged through the side paddocks somewhere in drizzly Mornington Peninsula. When we started out, I imagined us returning with baskets laden with golden chanterelles or giant milk caps. However the truth sank in about 10 minutes into our journey – there are more toxic shrooms out there than there are edible ones.
This was how it went. ‘Oooh here’s a mushroom!’ The pro struts by, picks it up and starts telling us about the type of mushroom (look, I can’t even remember all the names) and he’ll talk about the gills, the colour etc and I’m thinking, great I wonder how it’d taste, and my bubble will burst as he throws it away and claims it as toxic. This happened over and over and over again. Pointless much?
So basically I gave up. The hubs thought he’d entertain himself by creating his own mushroom – the ‘Telstracusiphonicus’ mushroom. I thought it was hilarious but some other ladies got excited, and came by for a peek and didn’t think it was funny. Maybe they need some ‘sensicusofhumoricus’ mushroom.
I love mushrooms. Cooking and eating them this is. I think I’d just stick to getting them from the markets though. One of my favourite ways to cook mushrooms is to sauté with herbs and butter, serve on toast and topped with a sunny side egg. Breakfast of champions.
No recipe here, just some tips I’d like to share with you.
- Make sure pan is hot, drizzle with olive oil and then add mushrooms.
- Season a little with salt at the start. This will help draw out the moisture – you don’t want soggy mushies.
- Don’t keep stirring or tossing the mushrooms. Leave it for a bit so it has a chance to caramelise. But don’t burn them!
- Season further toward the end, toss in chopped herbs and before serving, stir through some butter.