Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pied de Mouton

The rain stopped for a few hours today after a huge wind and rain storm last night. All of the leaves are off of the Marron d'Inde trees. I believe they are the basically what Ohioans call Buckeye trees. A few branches were blown down, but aside from that, no damage. There hasn't been any frost for a few weeks, but a lot of rain and fog.
I took advantage of the rare glimpse of sun to take the dog, JJ for a walk in the woods.
As I was walking in the woods, through the slick carpet of leaves, I gradually became aware, as the last lingering background noise of a jet in the stratosphere faded, that it was absolutely silent. It's never really noisy around here, except when there is farm machinery working away...but, today, the silence was absolute.
Amazingly enough, I suddenly was aware that the background hiss of tintinitus, the nerve damage in my ears that I have incurred from stranding in front of a bass guitar amplifier was actually gone.

The dog became interested in something and took off running across the valley. I could hear barking across the creek in the forest on the other side of the hill. I'm not sure what he was doing, I know better than to ask.

I started to look around and I was aware of all the new late fall mushrooms poking up through the leaf litter. This year was a lousy year for mushrooms. There were no cepes.
Well, I found one, but people who make money collecting cepes for restaurants all said it was a catastrophe. I found a few girolles throught the year and some small pied de moutons.
As I was poking around, a light creamy off white shape caught my eye...then another. I looked closer and realized that there were pied de mouton everywhere. They were the biggest I had ever seen! For some reason, the conditions were just right to make these mushrooms bloom in mass quantities and bigger than I had ever seen them before.
I had a plastic bag and by the time JJ returned with the stupid grin on his face when he has become a wild crazy dog, I had collected a kilo. I collected all I could carry!

Luckily, I had a camera and took the shot for this post. I tried to show the main characteristics. The color, the irregular shape and most important, the spore bearing spines under the cap. They do not have gills like most mushrooms or pores like a bolete or polypore. The Pied de Mouton, or Hydnum repandum grows in forest litter. I believe they grow in the Midwest of The United States and the North East and are commonly called Hedgehog Mushrooms.
They grow under leafy forest and in pine forests, but in my experience, the ones growing in pine forests have a slightly bitter taste.

They have a very good nutty, slightly sweet mushroom flavor and a very good texture.
They are one of the best edible mushrooms and cannot be mistaken for any other.
They will keep for a few days after picking, but if you have a lot, like I do today, you can freeze them for a few weeks. They go very good with eggs and can be used in almost every mushroom dish. I sauted some with chicken breast, then deglazed the pan with a little cream tonight.

I am going to go back and look again tomorrow, but I think it will frost tonight. If that happens, chances are, my good luck today was just that.....
My tintinitus seems to be back...


Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

mmmmmmmm! I can almost taste them now ... (ha, my security word is plate, how appropriate since I'd like a plateful!)

microdot said...

I saw on your blog that you are planning to go back to the states for a few weeks or so...
Your Mexican food post made me very hungry for some Mexican cuisine!
I am going back to the USA in March, and I plan to load up with dried chiles....
I have had the same problem with looking for corn meal here...
Though, there is an African Market in Brive la Gaillarde that sells something that might do!