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Suggestions for a WIld Mushroom Cookbook?

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I can find plenty of field guides to wild mushrooms, but I haven't found a really good cookbook for them.

They are so diverse in flavor and texture and require different treatments. Some are delicate and some are decidedly sturdy. Some need pretreatment for edibility, some need only to be cooked. I'd love to have a chef's take on the whole thing.

Many of the existing recipes I am seeing are very heavy treatments with cream and butter and sherry, the mushrooms made into soups and stews.

I want to know what you can do with these delicacies when you get really clever.

Some friends and I had homemade pizza with maitakes and they were wonderful, all smoke and earth! No wonder they're called the dancing mushroom.

Is there a really good cookbook out there? If not, could some chef do one that isn't all hearty casserole comfort food, some recipes a little more sophisticated than the covered-dish supper affairs I'm seeing?

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  1. I've had this one for a long time. The only problem I have is finding the varietals! But I use it for inspiration. The recipes run the full spectrum from starters to desserts (no mushrooms in them!!). If you can find it, I think you'll enjoy it.

    Link to Amazon for description and some reviews:

    http://www.amazon.com/Mushroom-Lovers...

    1. I have an old book, Wild Mushroom Recipes, 1973 Puget Sound Mycological Society. You might poke around on like and find a copy

      2 Replies
      1. re: Candy

        Candy & Dee, Thanks for the suggestions. I will look into both of them.

        1. I picked up a mushroom cookbook at a thrift store yesterday that seems to fit the bill!
          A Cook's Book of Mushrooms by Jack Czarnecki. The author is a chef with a restaurant in Pa. & a mushroom forager. There are seven chapters arranged by general variety of mushroom.

          No getting around some renditions with cream but there are a nice variety of dishes and flavors. Randomly flipping pages I see Venison w/ wood blewits & cardamom sauce, Filet of sole w/ hericium & tangerine peel, Pakistani-style mushrooms in pita, swordfish with a plum-mushroom topping.

          There are serving and wine suggestions. Not the best book for a beginning cook due to occasional vagueness ie "cook until set". An experienced cook will know but a novice may become frustrated.

          1. A Cook's Book of Mushrooms: With 100 Recipes, by Jack Czarnecki, Louis B. Wallach has a lot of recipes. It is worth getting if cheap enough used, IMO. While it brings up many different mushrooms, it lacks a fundamental priciple of how to treat different similar looking, but not tasting, mushrooms differently. For example, the Boletus section (which includes Suillus, which isn't a Boletus...) talks about creps, mentions a few characteristics of certain genera, but fails to then recommend how to maximize enjoyment out of each mushroom. It goes so far as to commit an act that directly defies your statement on how various mushrooms are by listing the 1st recipe after the Boletus introduction with the 1st ingredient as "blanched fresh mushrooms or ... cans wild mushrooms". What mushrooms? They can't all be used interchangeably. That's like having a recipe that says to use "fresh fruits", as if apples and oranges are the same.... Sure it can sometimes work, but it doesn't always/often. The same chapter talks about B. bicolor, yet doesn't say how to use them properly w/in any subsequent recipes. It practically assumes you can use almost any spongy pored mushroom the same way. This is a good book in that the recipes are likely tasty for the mushrooms they're made for, and even some they're not, but it doesn't get a person far at all to understand what true wild mushroom cooking is all about.

            Sadly, I don't have a recipe book to suggest. I wish I had published one, but meanwhile I do have a couple resources for you, both of which are free:
            1. MushroomTalk (http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Mu...) where chefs and mushroom experts discuss everything from cooking to collecting to science.
            2. Foraging.Posterous.com is my site where I've listed many of my true wild mushroom recipes and cooking strategies.

            Sam Schaperow, M.S.

            1. Hi Pipenda,
              There are lots of great mushroom cook books out there, but there is one great out of print book that is still available online:

              "Wild About Mushrooms" by Louise and Bill Freedman,

              http://www.mssf.org/cookbook/index.html

              You can also find some delicious mushroom recipes on the BAMS website:

              http://www.bayareamushrooms.org/recip...

              There are some excellent and sophisticated recipes in this cookbook form the PNW, as well:

              "Wild Mushrooms" by Cynthia Nims.

              And another classic with great recipes from famous, mushroom loving, Monterey Chef John Pisto:

              "Cooking with Mushrooms"

              Good luck!

              Debbie Viess
              Bay Area Mycological Society
              www.bayareamushrooms.org