Lobster mushrooms are the strangest edible fungi that Ive yet encountered. Unlike their camouflaged cousin the morel, lobsters are like a stop sign. Look at me, Im over here! And once you find one pocket, others are sure to follow. On a recent trip to a local state park, we found these mushrooms everywhere. We were hunting in an oak forest with lots of leaves and buff on the ground, after a rain. The lobster mushrooms were hard to miss, their color popping them out against the gray-brown leaf litter. Unfortunately I only had my field guide on me for reference, which has the ominous warning for lobsters that says that if you cant identify the host, dont eat them. We picked a bunch, but ended up tossing them because we didnt have a solid identification.
The next day we drove up out of the valley into cell range, tweeted a fellow forager, and confirmed that it was highly unlikely that this was anything but an edible lobster mushroom, especially if the area was populated by their common hosts. For pokker! Back we hiked to the same area. Now we started looking for the host mushrooms, Russulas and Lactarius. These related mushrooms are both found under trees, with whom they grow symbiotically. Russulas are often red, brown and green topped, all with white gills and brittle flesh. Lactarius, also known as milky caps, are very similar, although they exude a milky latex from their flesh and gills. Both range from choice sweet edibles to acrid poisonous varieties.
Lobster mushrooms are actually two fungal organisms. One is the host, either Russulas or Lactarius mushrooms, that has been overrun with a parasite, namely by a microscopic ascomycete fungus, Hypomyces. The Hypomyces infects the young fungi, transforming them into a roughly textured, dense, deformed, orange-red, edible mushrooms. Yep, you heard it right. The Hypomyces fungus renders even the poisonous varieties of these hosts completely edible. And it gives off the heady aroma of cooked seafood, and tastes like it, too. Fantastiske! Hypomyces has been known to rarely infect other poisonous mushrooms, but they look nothing like lobsters.
Below youll find my recipe for Lobster Mushroom Bisque, which is a dead knockoff for the real thing. You wont believe how much it tastes like real lobster. But instead of growing in the sea and costing $20 a pop, it grows in the dirt and is harvested for free. Now thats what I call foraging.
Posted in Foraging Cooking Wild Foods Tagged with: chanterelle, foraging, how to identify mushrooms, Lobster Mushroom Bisque Recipe, lobster mushrooms, lobster mushrooms smell like seafood, Minnesota Mycological Society, morels, mushroom hunting, summer mushrooms, Whitewater State Park
Where I live in Minnesota, these will grow in the summer after Chanterelles in hardwood forests, usually starting around July-August. Look for places where milk cap mushrooms grow, or where you see them nearby-they could be a clue lobsters will be about. You will find them scattered about, if you find one, look around closely, as there will be more nearby. Sometimes I find them growing in the same places as Chanterelles, in oak forests in southern MN. In northern Minnesota, I find Lobster Mushrooms scattered about in areas with Birch and other mixed woods.
Some people will tell you theyre ok, but these characteristics mean a lobster mushroom is old, and past prime, and unlike something like a chanterelle, lobster mushrooms have a reputation for making people sick when theyre old. You wouldnt eat a moldy potato, so dont eat an old lobster mushroom.
Lobster mushrooms can often be vase shaped, serving as homes for small creatures, rain water reservoirs, and all around stuff you dont need to eat. When picking, trim the dirty ends from the lobsters, brush them as clean as possible, and shake out detritus from the inside, then carve out the middle and any soft tissue using your knifeif it has a vase shape, this will make for much less time when it comes to cleaning them at home.
Save ugly or slightly older mushrooms to dry
Older mushrooms that might be a bit long for the pan are a good candidate for dehydrating, and, as lobsters dry well, and are one of the best mushrooms to make into powder, I usually save a few extra for drying each year.
Lobster mushrooms are highly variable in flavor. Fresh specimens with completely white flesh on the interior are the best tasting. Hold det simpelt. Pan-frying or sauting is perfect for this dense mushroom, and the larger specimens benefit from moist cooking methods. The bright orange-red color of the mushroom leaches out as it cooks, leaving a colorful juice in the pan. In fact, lobster mushrooms can be used to dye wool, fabric, or paper. Be sure not to overcook this mushroom, as the flavor and aroma are delicate and can be lost. Some like to chop lobster mushrooms into regular chunks and tempura fry them. They are often used in seafood dishesâ€”with actual lobster or crab, or bisque, the seafood aroma is enhanced.
Despite the name and appearance, the lobster mushroom isn't a true mushroom species. It's the result of a parasitic mold invading and taking over a wild mushroom, turning it red and improving the flavor and texture of that fungi. To that end, the lobster mushroom is prized for its crustacean-like flavor, meaty consistency, and heartiness when cooking. Because the lobster mushroom only grows in the wild, sourcing it can be difficult, making them a rare, sought-after ingredient.
A lobster mushroom is made when the parasite Hypomyces lactifluorum invades wild fungi, namely the lactarius and russula mushrooms. These mushrooms are found in the fall, mainly in New England and in the northern areas of the West Coast. The parasite coats the wild mushrooms and turns them red, firming the flesh and giving the fungi a hearty meatiness that otherwise wasn't there. The lumpy-shaped mushrooms also take on notes of shellfish, namely lobster, especially when cooked.
It's because of the taste of the mushroom, the texture, and the bright orange-red color that lend the lobster mushroom its name. There are white lobster mushrooms as well, though these aren't as common as the warm-hued variety. The white lobster mushrooms taste similar to the red ones, but don't look like chunks of lobster meat and tend to have a lighter texture.
The first step in cooking with lobster mushrooms is to clean them, which can be difficult thanks to the intricate folds and concave cap that make up the mushroom. The best way to clean them is by using a dry brush or vegetable brush to knock off any dirt. They can also be gently cleaned with a damp paper towel; just be careful when doing this so the color isn't rubbed away. Depending on how dirty the mushrooms are, it may be necessary to break them apart in order to really remove the debris.
Once clean, lobster mushrooms can be cooked much like any other mushroom. Cut the mushrooms into chunks or use whole, depending on the size of the lobster mushroom and what it's being used for. Mushrooms are best cooked on high heat quickly with olive oil or butter, either by sauting, roasting, or pan frying. It takes about five to ten minutes to pan fry a mushroom, depending on size. Often the orange hue dulls while cooking, especially when cooked for longer periods of time. The liquid leftover from cooking lobster mushrooms does retain some of the red color, and can be used in the dish to add flavor and color to the final meal.
While lobster mushrooms can be eaten raw, they taste better when cooked. The heating process releases those unique seafood nuances. Dried lobster mushrooms can also be used in cooking, and many find this version of the food to pack even more umami-filled, crustacean-like flavors. When dealing with dried mushrooms, soak in water before cooking. Dried mushrooms are best when chopped up in put into sauts, fillings and soups. Use lobster mushrooms anywhere a subtle taste of the sea is needed, without actually putting shellfish in the dish.
A lobster mushroom has a faint taste of its namesake and an overall crustacean-like flavor. It's a thick, hearty mushroom with a good bite to it, also like its seafood counterpart. There's the umami-rich earthy notes to the flavor as well, but overall the lobster mushroom offers eaters a mild, meaty bite that goes great with cream sauces, pasta, buttery bread and over whole grains.
Substitute hummer champignon til enhver anden champignon i disse opskrifter. Denne champignon vil ændre den overordnede smag lidt ved at give det en skaldyrlignende nuance, men vil stadig opretholde den rige jordhed, der findes, når du bruger andre svampe.
Tørrede hummer champignon skal sættes på et køligt sted i spisekammeret, væk fra direkte lys eller fugt. At holde tørrede svampe lufttæt er vigtigt, da vandeksponering før de er klar til at blive brugt, kan ødelægge hele bunken.
Der er mindst to typer hummer champignon, rød og hvid. Den røde udvikler sig efter parasithypomyces lactifluorum overtager helt værtsvampen og giver den den lyse nuance. Den hvide har ikke været så inokuleret af parasitten, og derfor har den ikke den samme farve. Begge svampe er blevet ændret i smag og tekstur, den hvide er lettere og den røde har et tykkere, hjertende kød. Mens hverken hummer champignon er almindelig, er de hvide endnu sværere at finde, delvist fordi de ikke skiller sig ud som den røde type gør. Enten kan spises og have en lignende smag.