WILD MUSHROOMS: LOBSTER (4oz)
Four ounces of fabulous—-and fabulously rare—Fresh Wild Lobster Mushrooms from our own woods! If you’re passionate about mushrooms, these babies need no introduction: They’re one of the most highly prized mushrooms among chefs! But for the uninitiated, a little further down I’ve provided a quick rundown on the wonder that is a Lobster Mushroom!
Because they’re delicate, I only dared remove as much dirt as I could with a soft brush. Which means you’ll have a lot of cleaning left to do. Avoid rinsing with water if you can, as that will wash off too much of the orange color & with it the flavor. Instead, use a veggie brush or even an old toothbrush to brush/lightly scratch the dirt off, and follow with a damp cloth when needed. You’ll likely have to slice or tear the mushroom to get into all the crevices, and the very bottom of the stem will likely need to be sliced off & discarded because they don’t like to give up their hold on dirt. As you go, scrape or slice away any bruised portions that have a “wet” texture. (You don’t HAVE to do that, but those areas are said to have a stronger fishy flavor that many people don’t want.)
Once cleaned, cook these mushrooms the same way you’d cook any other type! Chop them into whatever sized pieces you want, depending on your recipe. They’ll do best when cooked in oil or butter on high heat relatively quickly, which can best be achieved thru sautéing, pan frying, or roasting. It should take about 5-10 minutes to cook thru. Don’t discard the liquid leftover from cooking them! It’ll have some of the lovely red color and lobster-like flavor, and should be used to enhance the flavor & look of the final dish!
Mushrooms are best cooked on high heat quickly with olive oil or butter, either by sautéing, 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.
ABOUT LOBSTER MUSHROOMS:
The most fascinating fact, and the reason these babies are so hard to come by, is that the Lobster isn’t a species of mushroom at all! Instead, it’s the fantastical result of a parasitic mold taking over either a Lactarius or a Russula type mushroom. This phenomenon only happens in the wild, further adding to their rarity!
The lovely orange-red color comes from that parasitic mold, but that’s not ALL it does! The parasite takes what are otherwise tasteless mushrooms with crumbly and/or unappetizing texture, and transforms them into thick, hearty mushrooms with a lovely meaty texture and a rich, sweet, flavor that hints at lobster! (Hence the name!) Cooking is said to enhance that lobster flavor, so although it’s SAFE to eat them raw (after you’ve done a small trial to establish that your stomach isn’t sensitive to them), most people will tell you that raw eating would be a waste of these delicacies.
NOTE: If you google these you may see an occasional warning that you need to be sure the host mushroom isn’t a toxic one. I want to assure you that it’s been unequivocally proven that the spores ONLY parasitize the two non-toxic species I mention above. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop people from sharing false info they read somewhere.