A few weeks ago, a post-doc and I were walking past the Physics building on campus when we saw some beautiful yellow fungi coming out of a tree.
Little did I know that, later that week, I would actually *eat* those fungi. And I haven’t died yet.
My friend and colleague Donna Riley is visiting our department on sabbatical this semester, and turns out to be a marvelous cook, knitter, and, apparently mushroom hunter. She has already come across some chantrelles in the forest, and it was she who noted that the pretty fungi were not only startling to look at, but good to eat.
They’re apparently “chicken of the woods” fungi, also known as “sulfur shelf,” and if you aren’t allergic to them (so far we think we’re not), you can eat them.
So we launched forth ~ 5 pm and drew some curious stares from folks standing at the bus stop while we reached off and broke off a large chunk.
Donna came back to our house with us, and whipped up a vegetarian pasta with “chicken of the woods” chunks.
Verdict: they were a little dry and crumbly, but did indeed taste like chicken. And came with the added bonus of having involved foraging mushrooms on campus. However, we probably didn’t need the size of chunk we broke off — I think it was fun to try some of, but now we’re not sure what to do with the rest of it. Make broth? I’m a little afraid of that prospect.
There’s more still on that tree by physics… anyone have any good recipes out there? Figured out how to deal with the dry/crumbly texture?
In general, the whole experience was very cool. Except that people who thought we ate weird food before are sure to be more steadfast in their convictions from now on.