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Black Trumpets

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2019 yielded an explosion of Craterellus in the southern Appalachian Mountains! The dark, witchy looking fungus is one of my absolute favorites with its deep, woodsy perfume and intense flavor. They tend to flush where chanterelles do, beginning a little later in the season and, in my experience, are more ephemeral. Since they are usually camouflaged in the dark soil and leaf litter of the forest, hunting black trumpets is great fun!

My favorite way to prepare black trumpets is to slice them in half length-wise and do a simple sauté in a good quality oil with a small amount of garlic, and finish with a splash of dry white wine and a pat of butter. I make sure not to overwhelm the flavor of the mushrooms with other flavors. I want to savor every bite!

I also tried a new recipe this time - Monkfish with Spinach and Black Trumpet Sauce which I found in an old New York Times article. It calls for trumpets, shallots, and 1/4 cup of Scotch to create the base for the cream sauce. Absolutely delicious! And I was delighted that the white fish and spinach didn’t outcompete the flavor of the mushrooms. Cooking with Scotch; who knew?

Black Trumpets are excellent keepers—dry them and store in a glass jar with a tight fitted lid. Since the mushrooms are thin-walled and hollow, If they aren’t too wet you can dry them just by slicing and laying them out on the counter. Reconstitute as you would any other mushrooms. The texture isn’t quite as lovely as when they’re fresh, but this is an excellent way to preserve your abundance.

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Courtney Tiberio