The haul of the wild

You probably know how tricky it can be to eat wild mushrooms — up to and including the point where you become ill, or deceased. For example, a friend of ours recently spent the entire night being sick after eating wild mushrooms with eggs, prepared by one of her neighbours.

On the other hand, the safe wild mushrooms can be really quite good, so my wife Jan jumped at the chance to go mushroom-hunting on Thursday afternoon. She went with a friend of ours who has good local knowledge, not only about where to find the fungi, but which ones to pick.

And when Jan returned home, she had a nice haul — some big meaty cèpes (porcini), perfect-looking girolles (chanterelles), and several lovely little pied de mouton mushrooms (hedgehog mushrooms in English). Her next step was to wash them, and set them out to dry on paper towels.

Thoughts on mushroom-cleaning: We should get this out of the way right now — do you or don’t you wash mushrooms? The usual advice is don’t wash; just wipe them a bit with a damp cloth or a brush. Personally, I think that’s fine if you’re dealing with domestic mushrooms, the kind you’d buy in most stores. But for wild mushrooms, I think it makes sense to wash them. A specialty-foods dealer in Toronto, from whom we used to buy wild Canadian mushrooms, put it this way: “Do you think that a bear who stops to have a pee in the woods is going to care if he’s peeing on some mushrooms?” Made sense to me.

So Jan carefully washed and trimmed the three kinds of mushrooms, which you’ll see below:

Here's Jan's haul of mushrooms, drying on paper towels.

Here’s Jan’s haul of mushrooms, drying on paper towels.

The big ones — the cèpes — were eventually bagged and put in the freezer, where they should keep quite well. The two smaller varieties were saved for breakfast this morning, and here’s how it went as Jan made a delicious mushroom omelette.

First she sautéed the girolles and pied de mouton mushrooms in butter, like this:

The mix of mushrooms is bubbling away.

The mix of mushrooms is bubbling away.

Then, after cooking a few beaten eggs until they were almost done, she placed the cooked mushrooms along the centre of the mixture, like this:

The egg mixture is almost cooked, so the mushrooms go on.

The egg mixture is almost cooked, so the mushrooms go on.

After folding over the sides of the omelette, and adding some fresh thyme for decoration, she had a lovely omelette ready to serve. Here it is:

The finished omelette.

The finished omelette.

We each got half of the omelette, and I thought it was wonderful — served along with a nice, sweet pain au raisin I had bought in the bakery at Castelnaud-la-Chapelle. Here’s my plate, with the rather large raisin bun lurking in the background:

And finally, my half of the omelette is served. With a raisin bun.

And finally, my half of the omelette is served. With a raisin bun.

You’ll be pleased to know that quite a few hours later, we’re both feeling fine. Not that we really expected anything else.

This entry was posted in Flora and fauna, French food, Life in southwest France, Recipes, Weather in the Dordogne and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The haul of the wild

  1. so look forward to your weekly adventures in Daglan and the surrounding countryside. It keeps me in touch with my son who lives in Daglan. Your meals look so so delicious . please keep providing all the news and all the interesting goings on. best wishes Rosemary Stuckey

  2. Paul says:

    That is one of the many things Chris and I are looking forwarded to. Jan looks to have found a wonderful harvest, the omelette looks delicious.

    In France most pharmacists will identify dangerous or inedible mushrooms for you so if in doubt take them to the nearest pharmacy.

  3. loren24250 says:

    Paul, do you mean the same kind of high-quality pharmacist who diagnosed Chris’s illness as an allergy, when it turned out to be bronchitis?

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