It seems like a funny time of year to be harvesting mushrooms, but I suppose as long as conditions are right, those little fungi are going to bloom! I’ve never been really confident on picking mushrooms, but there are a few that I know well, that are safe to eat. Oyster Mushrooms, Puff Balls, and Prince Mushrooms are so easy to identify in this region.
The oyster mushrooms were blooming all over a downed balsam-log. Mushrooms are the blooms of fungi that live in the ground, wood or organic matter (factoid).
There were about 8 feet of them, all over the top half of the log. I found them when they were perfect, the bugs and slugs hadn’t got to them, and they hadn’t started to dry out at the edges. A totally unexpected bounty! For dinner I made up a super easy orzo based risotto type dish. As we’d recently returned from travels, my pantry was quite depleted, but I had all I’d need to make an incredibly mushroomy dish.
I don’t expect that most people will stumble over an oyster mushroom laden log conveniently behind their chicken house, but if you do, harvest those beauties for your meal. If you don’t stumble over such a log, buy some at a grocery store.
8 oz oyster mushrooms
1½ T olive oil
leaves from 5 or 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
½ t salt
3 c chicken or vegetable stock
2 T butter
1 medium onion – ¼” chop
1 good-sized clove of garlic – minced
8 oz orzo (just over a cup)
½ c grated parmesan (about 2 oz)
1 T butter
Chop the mushrooms into medium sized pieces – nothing more than an inch
Heat the olive oil in a skillet.
Add in the mushrooms and thyme leaves and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally while working on the orzo mixture.
Sprinkle the salt over them once they’ve had a chance to heat through.
Heat the stock in a medium saucepan until simmering.
Heat the butter in a deep skillet, over medium heat.
Add in the onion & garlic to the skillet, cooking & stirring for about 3 minutes, until translucent.
Then add in the rest of the stock, and continue cooking until the orzo is tender.
If you need to add a touch more water to finish cooking the orzo, just add in about ¼ c of hot water.
Serve immediately & enjoy!