Graves Farm Sanctuary, Haydenville, MA, mixed hemlock, white pine and birch forest.
The suillii were everywhere in the woods this week—the driest, hottest week in awhile. The chanterelles, which thrived on practically the same ground just a few weeks before, were barely in evidence.
I’ve eaten painted suillius many times, prepared several ways—raw, as a pizza topping, sauteed in olive oil and butter and chilled for summer sandwiches–and I prefer them to every other mushroom I’ve tasted. With the possible exception of porcini pickled in light vinegar. Raw, they taste like what I imagined the ideal wild mushroom to taste like before I ever had one: nutty, earthy in the way of a portobello, rich like slightly burned butter, yet light in texture. The earthiness they impart to a robust, chunky pizza sauce…well, mmm. And sauteed, they turn creamy dark brown and become thick and chewy like a sauteed portobello. I make myself drool thinking about it.
Still, though—don’t go eating mushrooms you find in the woods, even if they look exactly like this, unless you actually know what you’re doing. Thanks.