Friday, November 12, 2010

Brooklyn mushrooms

I hesitate to admit this, but until this week I had never actually foraged in Brooklyn. (There. I've said it. Now waiting for derisive laughter to subside.) Sometimes we Manhattanites don't think to venture forth into the other boroughs, but the more friends I make in Brooklyn, the more I want to explore. I kind of want to live there.

So after listening to Leda rave about her Hen of the Woods harvest and Marie enthuse about her mother lode of oyster mushrooms (both in Prospect Park), I asked Marie to take me for show and tell. I like to think the trip was mutually beneficial; Marie had never hunted for Hens before and we found two in quick succession, thanks to directions (via text message) from Leda.

Next we visited Marie's oyster nursery, which was indeed impressive. Many were drying out, but there were several youngsters that were tender and appealing. And since oyster mushrooms are the gift that keeps on giving, there's reason to hope they'll continue to appear throughout the winter.

Back at home the oysters were cleaned and prepped for the weekend's Greek feast. They will be fricaseed with romaine lettuce and avgolemano sauce. It may sound like a weird combo, but it is delicious. The Hens were sauteed in olive oil and frozen for future use.

And the bits and pieces that were too tough for eating were turned into several quarts of mushroom broth, which should send the aforementioned fricassee over the top.

Here's to Brooklyn!

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At November 12, 2010 at 12:54 PM , Blogger meemsnyc said...

I lived in Brooklyn for many years and never foraged for mushrooms. What a great idea. I've never eaten those types of mushrooms before. How's it taste?

At November 12, 2010 at 1:59 PM , Blogger Frank said...

I wouldn't have known those were hens, so accustomed to the look of those I see in markets. Since I am the closest to your brooklyn hunting grounds, I could probably make some headway in mushroom discovery. Fortunately, for the real foragers, I am not ambitious!

At November 12, 2010 at 2:14 PM , Blogger Ellen Zachos said...

All I ask of you, Frank, is that the next time you come across a giant like that white chicken you at least keep a little to eat!

At November 12, 2010 at 2:38 PM , Blogger Marie said...

Yay! Avgolemono is one of the best things in the world. Maybe I'll make dolmades tonight...Speaking of - do you ever pick young grape leaves for aforesaid? They are incomparably better than the bottled version. I need a friend with a grape vine.

Thank you so much for teaching me to find and recognize the hens, it was very exciting.

I used my tough ones chopped small, as you'd suggested for Duxelle, and that was the first part of the mushroom pizza topping.

At November 12, 2010 at 6:24 PM , Anonymous Zoe said...

What a bounty! Sounds like you put it all to very good use. My boyfriend has been searching for a hen this fall. Some days he seems a wee tiny bit obsessed... Maybe there's still hope?

At November 13, 2010 at 8:33 AM , Anonymous Leda Meredith said...

Yay! So glad the texted directions led you to the Hen!

At November 13, 2010 at 6:50 PM , Blogger Marie said...

I ask Frank NOT to eat the chicken but to FedEx it to us :-)

At November 21, 2010 at 11:46 AM , Blogger meemsnyc said...

Hi Ellen,
I mix the egg cream with a spoon and it becomes frothy because the seltzer is so carbonated that when you mix it with the milk it becomes frothy.


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