About a month ago, I found a small mountain of woodchips with mushrooms growing in various places.
When I asked in the forum and posted pics, Alan Rockefeller suggested they might be Leucoagaricus meleagris. This led me on a wide exploration and I discovered that this is a very tangled and confusing species of mushroom.
I found references to poisonous look-alikes L. josserandii and Lepiota helveola as well as choice edible look-alikes, Leucoagaricus Procerus and others.
Even the experts couldn’t quite agree with which was which and I found some obvious mis-labeled pics.
Finally, I tracked down some descriptions that agreed with each other. It is generally agreed that Leucoagaricus Americanus:
A- has large caps
B- has a bulbous stalk
C- Bruises yellow at first, quickly reddening
D- cooks up dark red
E- has appealing aroma & taste
F- grows in woodchips
The poisonous Leucoagaricus/ Lepiota species:
A- small caps
B- gills turn greenish with age
C- non-bulbous stalk
D- bad smell
E- don’t grow in woodchips
I found a patch with caps 5-6 inches across. I took some samples home and cooked one. It smelled delicious and it turned dark red. I tasted a bite – it was delicious, but I spat it out just to be safe.
Next day, I went back and gathered some more samples. I diced up about ½ cup and then:
Linguini With Wild Mushroom Sauce.
½ cup diced Leucoagaricus Americanus (or wild mushroom of choice)
1 cup diced white store mushrooms
½ cup diced white onion
1-2 diced garlic cloves
1-2 diced celery stalks
Sauté in olive oil until fragrant – 3-4 minutes.
1 lb lean ground beef
Cook everything together until the meat browns. Add your favorite herbs & spices now. I like basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, ground fennel seed and a pinch of rubbed tarragon.
If you have garden tomatoes, now is a good time to use them. If not, add in 2X28 oz cans diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
I cheated a bit here and also added a can of Campbell’s Cream of Wild Mushroom soup. Note the small amount of Leucoagaricus Americanus I used. This is because of the first time cooking with them, and I didn’t want too much for the initial trial. Feel free to add as much or little as you like of your shroom of choice.
Grill about 4 hot Italian sausages on the BBQ. Slice them diagonally and add to the sauce.
Simmer until thickened – about an hour. Serve on linguini with salad & crusty bread. Garlic bread if you insist.
Since I’m still alive after a month, I feel safe in my ID and can recommend these as choice edibles. I plan to bring home some mycellated chips as soon as it rains again. If ever. We are in the midst of a ring of forest fires here. The skies are smoky and stinky.
Leucoagaricus Americanus w/recipe
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