Why do I wish for rain every fall? As soon as our Northwest grounds moisten up, our local wild mushrooms start to pop up!
I have been a huge mushroom foraging enthusiast for years and the Pacific Northwest is a mushroom-ers paradise. From the beloved chanterelle and the brilliant lobster mushroom to the sparassis (also known as the cauliflower mushroom), there are a LOT of edible mushrooms out there for the pickin’. Farmer’s Markets are abundant with these tasty NW gems and chef’s menus sprinkled with local finds.
But it’s so fun to pick wild mushrooms – think of it as hunting treasure in the forest! I was introduced to picking wild mushrooms years ago by an amazing group of local enthusiasts. But remember when picking wild mushrooms, you must know how to identify edible species. It’s important to learn from an experienced mushroom forager, go picking with an experienced person, or join a group such as Puget Sound Mycological Society. It’s a great place to learn all about wild mushrooms, meet great people and join in a fungi field trip.
A beautiful photo of my dearly departed friend Patrice Benson who taught me the love of wild mushrooms.
I learned from the best!
If you live in the Seattle area, this weekend is the Puget Sound Wild Mushroom annual show at Bellevue College, where there will be hundreds of species exhibited and a cooking display for you to try something new.
So here’s to the rainy days for a d’lish mushroom bounty! –Kathy
Colorful Wheat Berry, Edamame and Matsutake Mushroom Salad
I used the fragrant matsutake mushroom in this recipe for its lovely flavor profile. But you could also use oyster mushrooms as a substitute. This recipe is also delicious made with farro instead of wheat berries.
Makes about 5 cups
3/4 cup whole wheat berries
2 quarts water
1 Tbsp. each vegetable oil and sesame oil
1 cup thinly sliced matsutake mushrooms*
1 cup frozen, shelled edamame beans, defrosted
1 medium red bell pepper, julienned
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 to 3 Tbsp. coarsely chopped parsley
1 medium carrot, thinly bias cut
1 cup thinly sliced napa cabbage
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
1/2 Tbsp. honey
1/2 to 1 tsp. Asian chili paste, such as sambal oelek
1 1/2 tsp. finely minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp. finely minced fresh garlic
To cook the wheat berries: In a large pot, bring the wheat berries and water to a boil then reduce to a slow simmer. Simmer until wheat berries are very tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add more water if needed. Drain wheat berries and cool.
To cook the mushrooms: Heat the oils in a large sauté pan over medium high heat and then add the mushrooms. Sauté until soft and cooked through then let cool.
Meanwhile, mix the dressing.
When the wheat berries and mushrooms are cool, combine with remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and mix well. The salad can be served right away, or refrigerated for up to 4 hours. Bring to room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.
Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios® – www.KathyCasey.com