Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Mushroom and Mussel Chowder on the Beach

“Everybody says ‘oh man, you have to try this restaurant or that restaurant, they have the greatest chowder! But dude, this spot [pointing to the sandy beach on which we were standing], this spot has the BEST chowder I have ever tasted!”- My best friend Alex

Well we got a nice set of rainstorms over the break and with this wonderful weather a flush of fantastic fungi flourished!

Andrew and I headed out early and snagged some nice oyster mushrooms from a half rotten willow tree.


Next I headed out with my girl and brother to a secret spot where we spent hours in the woods harvesting black trumpets, yellow foots, the occasional hedgehog, and Justin even found a few matsutake’s!



Having never gone for matsutake’s before we were careful to key them out completely (including getting the distinct spore prints). Once we were confident of our identification we sautéed up a small portion to taste. It is always best to try just a little the first night as some folks are allergic to foods that to most are completely safe (e.g. Wheat, dairy, peanuts, avocado, etc). The matsutake’s were very good indeed!

I brought the remaining mushrooms home and put them in the dehydrator to last a bit longer.

The next weekend I was off to see my good buddy Alex and try a little low tide mussel chowder.

We searched the woods high and low for a short time but found no edible mushrooms around. Luckily I had started soaking a few handfuls of the previous harvest back at our base-camp so when we arrived there were plenty of delicious rehydrated fungi sitting in a bath of dark mushroom stock…the base of a great soup!

We spent about fifteen minutes gathering mussels to reach the daily bag limit of 10 lbs per person and headed back to our spot on the beach to start cooking.

Mussel and mushroom broth was poured over sautéed potatoes, carrot, celery, bacon and foraged herbs and then left to simmer. A little cream and some flour were added after the mushrooms and mussels were tossed in and Alex and I began to break bread.


Standing there on the sand as the tide went out we had to chuckle. After all, just a few meters away in the parking lot there were families eating fast food and artificially flavored tortilla chips completely unaware of the magnificent forager’s feast we were enjoying. Alex shook his head with a smile between bites and said “Nobody does it like we do!”

Keep the old ways alive!





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