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Cookbooks

Looking for a great mushroom recipe or a wonderful cookbook for mushroom hunters? Look no further! Phil Tedeschi, one of our resident gourmet chefs, has taken the time to review some of his favorite books for you. The cookbooks have been divided into two categories; hybrids (part field guide and part cookbook) and pure cookbooks. Check them out!

The hybrids...

Complete mushroom bookThe Complete Mushroom Book: the Quiet Hunt written by Antonia Carluccio Rizzoli, International Press, 2003

This book is a hybrid. It is also the only one of the cookbooks here that also could qualify as a coffeetable book. The book starts with a general introduction to mushrooms and mushroom hunting followed by a list of mushroom pictures and descriptions organized alphabetically. About 75 edible or poisonous mushrooms are covered with most of the basic edibles appearing here. Following the guide portion come the recipes organized into the following chapters: Soups, Sauces, and Preserves; Light Dishes; Pasta, Rice and Polenta; Fish; and Meat (which includes Poultry). The recipes range from the very basic to some sublime gourmet treats like caponata of mushrooms, mushroom stuffed squid (sulfur shelf), sweetbread medallions with horn of plenty (Craterellus fallax or C. cornucopoides). Although I would strongly recommend using a standard guidebook in addition to this, the recipe section does not suffer from insufficiencies unlike some other hybrid books.

The Edible Mushroom Book a Guide for Foraging and Cooking written by Anna del Conte and Thomas Laessoe, Darling Kindersley Ltd., 2008

This is a hybrid book. The first part describes mushroom hunting and mushrooms. There is a section with pictures and minimal descriptions of 10 deadly poisonous mushrooms followed by a guide to about 50 edible mushrooms. The mushrooms are organized by season and then alphabetically. The pictures are very good as are the descriptions. A few of the mushrooms do not grow in the United States; this book was originally written for Europe. The next section describes, preparing, cleaning, slicing, and cooking mushrooms and then come the recipes. There are 70 pages of recipes that, as usual, range from basic to gourmet.

Edible Wild MushroomsEdible Wild Mushrooms of North America: A Field to Kitchen Guide written by David Fischer and Alan Bessette, University of Texas Press, 1992

This is a hybrid book. The first chapter describes mushrooms and mushroom hunting. The second presents mushroom pictures and descriptions organized as follows: chanterelles; gilled mushrooms; Boletes; toothed mushrooms; corals, club shaped and cauliflower shaped mushrooms; shelf like mushrooms; puffballs; morels and jelly fungi. Approximately 100 edible mushrooms are described. The next section presents poisonous mushrooms. Approximately 20 deadly poisonous or seriously poisonous mushrooms are presented. There are 60 pages of recipes with one or two recipes for the more common wild edible mushrooms.

Edible Wild Mushrooms of IllinoisEdible Wild Mushrooms of Illinois and Surrounding States A Field to Kitchen Guide written by Joe McFarland and Gregory Mueller, University of Illinois Press

This is a new hybrid book that has a mushroom guidebook section as well as a recipe section. Unlike the other hybrids reviewed here that are equally divided between the guide and cookbook sections, this book devotes eight chapters (158 pp) to identifying and hunting for mushrooms and one chapter to recipes.

The book starts with a fairly basic introduction to mushrooms and mushroom hunting. Like most hybrids there are no keys. The chapters here are “Common and Poisonous” (5 species, with global warming, should we study thier Amanita in case it moves to Michigan; we don’t have a meadow Amanita), “Into the Forest” (13 species), “The Morels” (3 species), “The Chanterelles” (5 species six including hedgehogs as a look-alike), “The Boletes” (3 species), “Puffballs” (5 species), “Take the Field Without Getting Hurt” (4 species), and “Let’s Eat” (29 recipes).

Overall 35 species and 29 recipes. Though not very comprehensive this is a good beginner’s book. Several pages with many excellent photos are devoted to each species. Look-alikes are not only described they are also pictured to illustrate the differences between them and the relevant edible. The mushroom descriptions are excellent and not too technical. Although there are only 29 recipes, I’m looking forward to trying several of them; the club will probably try Wild Mushroom Lasagna with Arugula Pesto at one of our pot-lucks.

Purely a cookbook...

Taming the wild mushroomTaming the Wild Mushroom A Culinary Guide to Market Foraging written by Arleen R. Bessette and Alen E. Bessette, University of Texas Press

This cookbook was written for the novice mushroom hunter, someone who is “fearful about eating wild mushrooms because of the danger of being poisoned.” It brings the culinary delights of the wild mushroom to those who are beginning to learn to forage as they can hunt these mushrooms in their local, gourmet, or Asian grocery store.

The mushrooms covered here are the white buttons (Agaricus bisporus aka A. brunnescens), King boletes (Boletus edulis), Oysters (Pleurotus ostreatus complex), Chanterelles (Cantharellus cibarius), morels (Morchella esculenta and M. elata aka M. angusticeps), paddy straw mushrooms (Volvariella volvacea), wood and cloud ears (Auricularia polytrichia and Auricularia auricular-judae), shiitakes (Lentinula edodes), enokitakes (Flammulina velutipes grown in the dark), White Matsutakes (Tricholoma magnivelare), black truffles (Tuber melanosporum), and wine cap Stropharias (Stropharia rugoso-annulata). This is quite an array of mushrooms. I’ve seen most of them in various stores; some fresh, some dried and some canned; although I haven’t seen wine cap Stropharias, though.

There is a good range of recipes from fairly simple like enokitake and endive salad to gourmet delights like veal scallopine with mushrooms, chanterelle popovers, and shrimp and black truffle bisque.

Cook's Book A Cook’s Book of Mushrooms written by Jack Czarnecki, Artisan Press, 1995

This cookbook is oriented mostly toward commercially available mushrooms but also has some wild mushroom recipes. The grocery store mushroom recipes can easily be adapted to work with wild mushrooms. The chapters here include:

As with most recipe books these recipes range from the basic to the sublime like "Scallops with Asparagus," "Chevre and morels," "Cepe cabernet pate with fresh grape sauce," "Belgian endive and pickled mushrooms." Jack is a restaurant chef and does somewhat concentrate on commercially available mushrooms.

Joe's book Joe’s Book of Mushroom Cookery written by Jack Czarnecki, Macmillan, 1986

This book is a tribute to Jack Czarnecki’s father Joe who also was a restaurateur and these recipes derive from his father’s restaurant.

The chapters here are:

This book is even heavier on its emphasis on commercially available mushrooms than the volume above but the recipes can be adapted to wild mushrooms.

Mushroom lover'sThe Mushroom Lover’s Mushroom Cookbook and Primer written by Amy Farges, Workman Press, 2000

One immediate criticism I have of this book is the fact that the mushrooms covered are pictured and described but only using common names. There is one of these mushrooms that I’m even not completely sure I have correctly identified to species. The mushrooms covered include many varieties found in Michigan such as Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa), pom pom mushrooms (one or more of the Hericium; these can be used interchangeably), Mousseron (Fairy Ring mushrooms), honeys (Armillariella mellea complex), huitlacoche (corn smut Ustilago maydis ), sulfur shelf (Laetiporus sulfurous and L. cinncinnatus), morels (Morchella esculenta, M. angusticeps, and M. semilibera), and many more.

The book provides a great variety of basic to complex recipes for even the most discriminating pallet.

Wild about mushroomsWild About Mushrooms written by Louise Freedman, Aris Press then Addison-Wesley, 1987 and 2000

This publication of the Mycological Society of San Francisco is available for download on their website www.mykoweb.com/cookbook/. This website is definitely worth a side trip if you decide to download some or all of the recipes.

The cookbook has four major sections.

Part I - is a Cook’s introduction to Mushrooms which describes general topics like cooking with mushrooms, safety, cleaning, cooking tips, preserving mushrooms and stuffing mushrooms.

Part II - is a set of basic mushroom recipes for use with various wild mushrooms or combinations thereof. There are recipes for preserving mushrooms (e.g., duxelles), sauces, appetizers stuffed mushrooms, soups, egg dishes, mushrooms with grains and/or pasta, and other general mushroom dishes. Often there is a list of alternate mushrooms that could be used in the dish.

Part III - is a Cook’s Encyclopedia of Wild and Cultivated Mushrooms presented by species, The species included here are black saddle mushrooms (Helvella lacunosa; the recipes would also work with Helvella crispa which is more common here in Michigan), blewits, Boletes, chanterelles, store mushrooms (white buttons), ear mushrooms (Auricularia auricula-judae), enoki; fairy ring mushrooms, hedgehogs, honey mushrooms, matsutakes, milky caps (mostly candy caps which don’t grow in Michigan), morels, namekos, oysters, puffballs, shaggy manes, the shaggy parasol (Lepiota rhachodes), shiitakes; snow mushrooms (Tremella fuciformis commercially available in Chinese markets), straw mushrooms, and truffles. For most of the recipes there is a list of alternate mushroom that would work with the recipe.

Part IV - describes medicinal mushrooms, hunting manners, a list of scientific and common names for many mushrooms, a list of American and foreign common names for mushrooms, and refers to the NAMA list of mushroom societies.

What can I say, all of the above and the price is right!