"What's your favorite wild mushroom?"
Tough question for a mushroom hunter. Luckily, black trumpets exist. All edible wild mushrooms are great for different reasons--the meatiness of chicken of the woods, the bright color and crisp texture of lobster mushrooms, the versatility of chanterelles--but black trumpets are the whole package. Their fruity yet earthy flavor is unmatched. Their firm texture is distinct. They're easy to clean. They don't spoil easily. In fact, their flavor is even enhanced when dried. Hell, even just experiencing the perfumy scent filling your nostrils when picking trumpets is worth the effort. The only problem with them is that spotting a cluster of trumpets among the leaf litter is about as easy as convincing my eight-year-old cousin that there is more to life than playing Angry Birds.
But once you get your eyes on, you'll start to see black clumps poking up all over the place. The hardest part is finding that first trumpet. They often grow in abundance in hardwood forests with partial shade. I usually find them in beech forests, or on grassy hillsides with young oak or hickory trees around. The rich flavor of these mushrooms is best paired with lighter flavors like cream or mild fish. Here's a simple yet killer recipe for a black trumpet pasta (seriously, one of the best things I've ever tasted).
Creamy Black Trumpet Pasta
- 1lb fresh pasta (fettuccine, linguini, or spaghetti are best)
- 2 cups black trumpets, cleaned
- 1 shallot or small white onion, chopped
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons butter
- parmesan to taste
- salt and black pepper to taste
Heat up butter in cast iron skillet on medium heat. Add chopped shallots and cook until tender. When shallots start to brown, add black trumpets. Add cream after one minute, and reduce heat so contents are simmering. Let simmer for five minutes, allowing cream to reduce and thicken. Cook pasta to preferred texture, then drain. Add cooked pasta to skillet and toss over medium heat for a minute. Remove from heat, add parmesan, and serve hot.