Sunday, December 13, 2009

Wild Mushrooms: A Simple, But Shockingly Good Dinner


I was recently given some mushrooms (chanterelles, blue foots, matsutakes) to sample by the former professional forager, Tyler Gray, who is now a partner at Mikuni Wild Harvest. I wanted to make something really simple to fully enjoy, compare and contrast the flavors of each of the mushrooms. In individual pans, I sauteed the sliced blue foots and chanterelles in olive oil and seasoned salt and pepper. In a grill pan, I grilled the thinly sliced matsutakes after a quick coat of olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper. I also made a simple pasta side dish of pappardelle, truffle oil, salt and pepper, and freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano to pair with the mushrooms.


The flavors that exude from wild mushrooms are truly amazing. It was such a sensory pleasure to taste the three mushrooms side by side.
  • The matsutakes were the strongest flavored by far. A heady aroma and very woodsy, earthy, strong, exotic flavors. Lovely when eaten in combination with the pasta.
  • The chanterelles were more tender than the matsutakes and had a fruity nose to them. They had little peppery earthy taste.
  • The blue foots were perhaps my favorite of the three. Again, woodsy, earthy flavors, but not as strong as the matsutake. It was as if you were eating a clump of earth from the place where these were picked (in a good way). Flavors that are able to transport you.
Wine Pairing
Boasso 1999 Barolo Serralunga - such a well priced (~$39.99), solid, authentic, old style Barolo with solid structure, typical roses and tar. Well balanced and perfect with the pasta and wild mushrooms. It was an exciting combination of scents and flavors.


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