Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bainbridge Island Foraging - Fiddleheads and The Prince

During these past weeks I've spent a fair amount of time at my parent's place on Bainbridge Island. Here are two foraged things I that turned out to be delicious.


Behind my family's house runs a salmon creek in a small gully. When I was a kid I knew every inch of it. So I figured I'd grab my boots and see if I could find anything that looked edible. The creek had 3" salmon fry in it, which scooted away when I came near, but the run isn't until November.

No, today's menu was all about Fiddleheads. It was getting late in the season for them but I soon found enough for a side for dinner. Cleaning them was a pain in the butt, but enough water and elbow grease got the chaff off. They were sauteed with some garlic scapes from the B.I. Farmer's Market. I love garlic scape season!


So I came over to the Island one day and my mother presented me with a huge mushroom that she had found near the Post Office. She wanted to know if it was edible. I had absolutely no idea. So I went to the local library, found some mycology books, and renewed my (10 years expired) library card.

After a couple hours of confused leafing through mushroom ID books we were pretty well set that it was an Agaricus Augustus or Prince mushroom. Scaly brown-white cap? Check. Yellow stain? Check. Close, free gills? Check. Smells like freaking marzipan? Check! One of the best eating mushrooms out there? Awesome!

Inspired, I used the books and determined that a Fairy Ring of mushrooms that had been in our lawn for a decade or more was, in fact, Fairy Mushrooms and also edible. Woot! So I picked a bunch of them as well. The fairy ring guys were good sauteed in a little butter, but I overdid them a bit. Maybe next time.

At dinner I took the cap and sauteed slices in butter with a little salt and pepper. These were so good that at least half were gone before they hit the table. A nice firm mushroom, with an amazing almond taste that is outrageously weird. The rest of the mushroom was sauteed with some garlic scapes (what can I say, I can't get enough), and some broccoli, finished with balsamic. Also good. But the Prince is best straight up.


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