Friday, November 22, 2013

The Fungus Among Us

The French love to hunt wild mushrooms. This time of year you find cars parked all along the side of the road where eager scavengers have wandered off into the forests to search for flavorful fungi.

A friend and neighbor recently gave us these beauties from the abundance of his bounty. The first sack was filled with Pieds de Moutons (Sheep's Feet would be the literal translation--not sure what we call these in English) and the second was filled with Chanterelles (which we call chanterelles--they sell for about $18/lb in the US). 

Multiple varieties of mushrooms grow all over the French forests, and even unskilled hunters can try their hand without fear because all pharmacists are trained to identify and classify mushrooms. So happy gatherers simply take their find to the local Pharmacy, and all dangerous or poisonous mushrooms are discarded by the pharmacist, who usually just asks for a portion of the good mushrooms in exchange for his services.

Our friend carefully explained how we were to clean and store the mushrooms and we followed his instructions to the T. 

David plans to use some of the Pieds de Mouton on our pizza tonight--which should add a nice earthy flavor.

Our chanterelles are in the freezer, awaiting their use in quiches or sautéed as an elegant side.

Learning about mushrooms is just one of the things that I LOVE about living in France!

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