The chanterelles are blooming on the Oregon coast. Mushroom hunters generally don’t like to divulge they’re favorite spots but I’ll tell you the secret: Anywhere! If you’re driving down 101 through second growth Douglas Fir, pull over and head into the woods. Bring a bag.
[Heceta Head south of Yachats, Oregon] (800×600)
[Second growth Douglas Fir] (800×600)
There are plenty of huckleberries to munch on while you poke around in the ferns. The real question is what to do with all the mushrooms when you get home. Chanterelle pasta is always a good bet and we ended up making just that our first night in. We had Jenni, Cameron, Hans, Agnieszka, and Fred. A total of 7 people to feed and we nearly ran out (not for lack of chanterelles but for lack of prepared sauce because none of us are accustomed to feeding that many people at once). It’s a good thing we’d loaded up some apples from mom’s (Cheryl) house on our way through Eugene. Jenni put those to good use in a big square pie.
That’s Kerstin on the left and Hans on the right with his ridiculous dog Otto. Hans got the glock somewhere and it was an effort to get him to leave it in the car for the hunt. He’s always eager to play scary redneck, but obviously you don’t need a gun to hunt mushrooms.
Lobster pirates Jenni and Cameron show off a large orange lobster mushroom. Lobsters stand out in the forest even though they’re usually partially buried in the duff. We found a lot and stopped picking them because they’re so heavy. Jenni doesn’t like them due to the vaguely seafood taste, but I like the firm texture and subtle flavor. The interesting thing about the species is that it is a parasite on other mushrooms (usually a short-stemmed russula). It turns a common but disregarded and maligned edible into something more succulent.
For the second running night of mushroom feasting we decided on Hungarian Mushroom soup. Actually, Vegan Hungarian Mushroom soup. I don’t have an exact recipe because none was followed. However, here’s the gist.
- Dry sauté a lot of mushrooms (in this case chanterelles).
- When the water is mostly boiled off add some onions, a small amount of garlic, and a little olive oil.
- When the onions are soft add vegetable broth (or water and bullion), and a lot of paprika (more than you might think).
- Simmer it for awhile then ad some dill (lots–but less than the paprika).
- Next add soy milk.
- Simmer and continue adding soy milk to maintain the desired soupiness.
- Salt and pepper to taste and add a little flour to thicken if necessary.
- Fresh chopped parsley to garnish.
In addition, Cameron baked fresh bread and sautéed a delicious ginger soy lobster mushroom side dish that is too complicated to describe here.
[After the dill but before the milk]