Black Trumpet

ForageCast: Chanterelle Gold Rush Continues

Black Trumpets - Hands

We parked our car at the Great Gulf Wilderness lot and headed into the White Mountain foothills for a pilgrimage to a favorite camping retreat during our high school and undergraduate years.

Hearty flushes of hygophorus milkies and painted suillus welcomed us into the wilderness, and scattered bands of chanterelles drew us deeper into the coniferous woods. After a sweaty couple mile trek in, we arrived at the majestic campsite in the shadow of the Presidentials and laid down our packs. We could hear the river rushing below, so we headed down for a swim. We were delighted to find the shores lined with gold, and we enjoyed a frigid dip alongside the chanterelles.

photo (3)Soon the sky grew dark, and we lamented the fact that we had not brought olive oil into the woods to cook up our treasures. We lovingly tucked them into the pocket of our tent, and spent a restful night dreaming of chanterelle omelets.

The next morning I stumbled out of the tent and brewed a pot of cowboy coffee as Jenna walked into the dense spruce and birch woods with toilet paper in hand. She emerged a few minutes later, just as I was taking the first sip of coffee straight out of the metal pot, with a glowing smile: “Chanterelles!”

I felt like a gold prospector as I bushwhacked my way into the evergreens with my pot of coffee. Jenna’s find was stunning – a long, winding band of chanterelles that almost glowed against the dark ground. I sprung into action, heading deeper into the wilds in search of additional golden nuggets. More chanterelles punctuated the forest floor, as well as my first yellow foot chanterelles and black trumpets of the season.

I even found a few pristine looking early porcini, but upon closer inspection their savory flesh was already squirming with life. Unable to resist the season’s first ceps, I detached the maggot-infested stem, peeled off the pores, and carefully selected a couple relatively maggot-free bites. There are few mushrooms that I eat without cooking but, like the maggots, I find raw porcini to be a divine trailside snack. Its nutty, bolete-alicious aftertaste lingers on the tongue long after the fear of having consumed raw maggots subsides.

The hills are alive with the mushrooms of summer – now is the time to find your own forest feast!

Northeastern ForageCast for the next two weeks!

Northeastern ForageCast for the next two weeks!

Black Trumpet Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Toasted Sage

A slice of heaven!

At this point, anyone who’s not a mushroom forager in Ithaca must by dying for some sun. It’s been raining almost around the clock – a steady pitter-patter on the tin roof of our home, soaking the earth and flooding the streets. In fact, when I woke up this morning all roads in Tompkins County were closed due to flooding, by order of the sheriff! Despite the pouring rain, Ari still ventured out yesterday on an early evening two-hour hour mushroom foray. He returned home soaked to the bone, but with a huge smile and a grocery bag filled with black trumpets to add to the four-pounds of black trumpets foraged earlier this week. Mushroom foraging is at its peak – it really doesn’t get any better than this! 

Our beautiful bounty of black trumpets just keeps on giving, making appearances in almost every meal. Needless to say, black trumpets are one of my favorite wild mushrooms. Their delicate appearance and delectable woodsy flavor makes me eagerly exclaim “I love black trumpets!” just about every time I eat them, as if I hadn’t had them every day for the past two weeks. 

This past week, I made a pizza I will never forget. Black trumpets atop a caramelized onion base with my first batch of homemade ricotta cheese, topped with toasted sage leaves – wow! Every bite was blissful. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water!

A small sampling of black trumpets from our recent harvests!

Serves 2

 Preparing the pizza dough:

-       Make or buy your favorite pizza dough!

-       To make two individual pies, divide the dough in two and form each piece into a smooth ball. Let rest. Then flatten (and toss if you have skills!) each ball into round disks.

Preparing the pizza toppings:

1.) CARAMELIZED ONIONS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • ½ Tablespoon brown sugar or maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme or rosemary, minced
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • Freshly cracked pepper and salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  • Heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onions, cracked pepper, salt and brown sugar. Cook for about 20, stirring often. Add ¼ cup white wine. Once the liquid has evaporated, add the fresh rosemary or thyme. Cook until the onions reach a browned, creamy texture.

2.) BLACK TRUMPETS

INGREDIENTS:

  • About 3 oz black trumpets
  • Cracked pepper and salt to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a small cast iron pan, melt the butter at a medium heat. Add the black trumpets, salt and pepper and sauté until any liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove the black trumpets and set aside.

 3.) TOASTED SAGE LEAVES (Courtesy my mother! These have always been one of my favorite creations of hers. If you’ve never eaten toasted sage leaves, you’re in for a treat!)

INGREDIENTS:

    • 16 sage leaves
    • 1 Tablepoon olive oil
    • Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a small cast iron pan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat.
  • Once the olive oil is hot, add the sage leaves. Lie flat and separate each one about a ½ inch apart. Sprinkle with salt. Cook sage leaves for about two to three minutes on each side. Then, set aside leaves separately on a plate to dry and crisp!

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, this is the time to use it. Place it in the oven on the lowest rack.

Brush pizza dough with olive oil. Top with caramelized onions, approx. 8 oz of ricotta cheese (homemade if you got it!) and freshly grated Parmesan to taste. Lay the black trumpets on top. Note: that the toasted sage leaves will be added as a garnish when the pizza is ready to serve and out of the oven!

When your pizza is ready for the oven, slide the pie onto the stone and bake until the crust is slightly browned and the toppings begin to bubble, about 10 minutes. Place toasted sage leaves on the cooked pie. Serve and enjoy. Mangia!

Black trumpet pizza!

ForageCast: Week of June 26, 2011

The last black trumpets we ate in 2009 before they checked out for a season.

My tongue has been reunited with an old friend – the black trumpet. Last summer’s drought took its toll on the trumpet crop, and this already hard to spot mushroom disappeared from Ithaca’s forests altogether. Despite many hours spent on hands and knees combing through moss patches, I did not find a single black, fragrant morsel.

Then, Friday I went to check on a chanterelle patch, only to find handfuls of black trumpets fruiting in close proximity to their golden brethren. Saturday delivered even more trumpets, including a few new patches that will likely become mainstays in my foraging rounds. Now that both the chanterelles and black trumpets have landed in Ithaca, my favorite part of the foraging season is upon us!

Northeastern ForageCast for the week of June 26, 2011

 

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