Dan and I were out of town this weekend visiting his parents in southern MN, and our adventures into foraging for wild edibles continued! I give you . . . "Chicken of the Woods" --
Please note that Dan and I are VERY careful in our foraging, and we pretty much stick to easily-identifiable plants, (raspberries, blackberries, wild leeks, etc.) and the "foolproof four" edible fungi -- those that look like nothing else out there.
Also note that you should never harvest Chicken of the Woods that are growing on any coniferous trees (spruce, cedar, eucalyptus, etc.) because they contain high levels of toxins from the tree. Deciduous trees are fine and safe, though!
I was thinking tonight that the "high" we get from foraging must be similar to the high people get from hunting or fishing -- it's very gratifying, eating off the land!
Here's a small sample of what we harvested:
My first use of choice? Pizza, of course!
(I also used shiitake and cremini mushrooms on the Chicken of the Woods pie, as well as a generous coating of olive oil, some parm and mozza, dried thyme, and a few sliced cloves of garlic. The other pie contains organic tomato sauce, parm and mozza, artichokes, roasted red peppers, red onions, fresh spinach, and Italian seasoning.)
These mushrooms REALLY taste like chicken. Like really. Like my first few bites of pizza were WEIRD. Once I got used to their flavor and texture, I quite enjoyed the mixed mushroom pizza! I bet if you were a veggie that really missed chicken, you could really get into these mushrooms. :)
I'm planning on using more of the mushrooms in a risotto later this week . . . stay tuned for more Chicken of the Woods madness! :)