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Aromatic, haunting, and wickedly wild...exotic mushrooms tease the imagination and send the daring on to new culinary adventures. Roast them, grill them, saute them, but you'll never tame them. Following is our Short List of perennial faves...

Black Trumpet / Fall through Spring -  Wickedly black, decidedly wild. Its delicate trumpet-shaped form shows off in a saute and makes its mark in pasta and risotto dishes. Excellent with game, poultry and especially fish.   

Blewitt
/ Fall -White with hints of blue throughout. Use both cap and stem in sautees, in marinades, and grilled. About 2 inches in diameter. Flavor is stronger than the oyster family. Tastes great with eggy dishes like custard.  

Bluefoot / cultivated - The cultivated version of blewitt. Larger, denser flesh and stems, bluer. Grill or use in ragout.  

Cauliflower / Fall - Grows up like romaine lettuce, with the texture of thick seaweed. Tastes so fragrant you'll serve it with everything -- meat, fish, eggs. Crunchy texture, butter-yellow color. Sautes and roasts well.

Cepe / Spring & Fall - a.k.a. porcini. Earthy, powerful, and of buttery texture. This king of the forest is the rare mushroom that can be served raw, sprinkled with truffle oil. Saute with potatoes, grill with meat.

Chanterelle / Late summer to late winter - Golden, with apricot nuances. Lends a sweet counterpoint to hearty, rich foods like venison and duck. Saute, flambe with Calvados, sprinkle with tarragon, and serve as an accompaniment to a baked ham. Slow roast in oven with garlic and cream and use as a pasta sauce. Add to a meat stew.

Charbonnier / Fall - Wild, with gray-black cap and white gills. Flavor hints of pine, and texture is on the crunchy side. Takes some cleaning. Roast with olive oil, mix with oyster for ragouts. Cook with lamb or steak.   

Chicken of the Woods / Summer -  This yellow-orange mushroom grows on trees in a fan shape. Its firm texture and chicken-like flavor suggest ragouts, soups, and fillings for poultry or pasta. Goes well with spicy Mexican-style ingredients. As big as a hand.   

Coral / Spring & Summer -  Looks like...you guessed it! Yellowish to pale white, about 5 inches high and 3 inches around. Crumbles easily, so drop it into a soup or deep-fry it whole. 

Crimini / Cultivated - Same mushroom as the button and portobello. A bit larger than a button, with more assertive flavor. Stuff, roast, use in soup. 

Enoki / Cultivated - This Q-Tip look-alike adds the right cool crunch to a crudite platter when raw. Toss into stirfrys, garnish soups, use instead of sprouts on sandwiches and salads.  

Eryngii / Cultivated - Buttery white, delicately flavored, and firm-textured. Its size (about the size of your palm) makes it a great candidate for grilling. Stems can also be eaten. Serve in a salad, in a mixed grill, or with fish. 

Fried Chicken / Fall - Shaped like a shiitake, this autumn mushroom is light brown, medium-firm, with gills. It brings the earthy flavors of a fall forest to the table. Use with game and chops. 

Hedgehog / Summer through late winter -  Little teeth line the underside of the cap. Color ranges from buff to deep orange, in specimens from a half-inch to five inches in diameter. The hedgehog tastes like a mild version of the chanterelle. Lots of chefs refer to it by its French name, "pied de mouton". 

Hen of the Woods / Fall & cultivated - Grey, black, beige mushroom that grows like salad, all curly and full of crevices. When chopped it yields small pieces. Trap its fragrance in Japanese-style soups, omelettes, and ravioli, or serve warm over salad greens. Nice and crunchy.  

Honey / Summer -  Clustered on long, tough stems, with a light brown cap. Delivers hefty earthy flavor, to cook with corn, scallops, and pasta. 

Honshimeji / Cultivated - Small dusty-beige cap about the size of a pinky. Cooks up whole, white stems are also edible. The fragrance released into soups and sauces is paralleled only by its surpise crunch. About 1 1 / 2 inches from stem-end to cap.

Huitlacoche / Cultivated -  This king of corn smut parasites on corncobs. It resembles candy corn, and cooks up as black as ink. The burst of corn flavor it offers turns any corny dish into a fiesta. Frozen only.

Lactaire / Fall - Pumpkin-colored, firm, dry mushroom with green veins running throughout. About 2 inches in diameter. Preserve "a la grecque" style or braise in beef stock and wine. 

Lobster / Summer - This is a seasonal wild mushroom with a hearty, woodsy flavor. Its firm, dry texture indicates marinating in olive oil and fresh basil before grilling or stewing. Saute sliced lobster with fresh herbs at low heat for 15 minutes, and serve with broiled tuna. 

Matsutake / Summer & Fall - Prized by the Japanese for its faintly peppery flavor, this mushrooom comes in five grades, with #1 being the best. As the cap detaches from the stem and opens, the mushroom is downgraded. Excellent texture for fish, soups, and sautes. 

Morel / Spring & Summer - It looks like a brainy ace of spades, but its flavor is down-to-earth. With no stem to speak of, its hollow accommodates wonderful stuffings. Morels and cream are a match made in heaven. Dried morels perform admirably, as does their soaking liquid. 

Mousseron / Spring & Fall - Small, brown, delicate mushroom that grows in forests and on lawns. Its earthy flavor and tiny size makes it excellent as a garnish for veal, fish, and chicken. A handful in the saute pan makes an instant sauce for orzo or polenta. Usually needs no cleaning.

Oyster / Cultivated - This mild-flavored, fleshy mushroom runs from pearly white to gray to brown. Wild, or more likely, cultivated, the oyster lends itself to cooking with fish and warm salads. As if the Japanese weren't generous enough by introducing us to the shiitake, they've now given us shimeji, the oyster's tiny cousin.

Parasol / Spring - The thick-walled, cup-shaped cap of this French mushroom lends itself to breading / deep frying. Melt cheese in the cup when it's fresh from the fryer, and you'll be back for more.   

Pig Ear / Fall - This pinkish-brown mushroom has the same semi-firm texture of the oyster mushroom (and is the same color as its namesake). Slice and saute this fragrant mushroom, to mix with other seasonal mushrooms or as an accompaniment to red meat.   

Pompom / Cultivated - Slice into rounds, sprinkle with olive oil and pepper, and grill or broil. Steam slices in a tinfoil pouch with a fish filet, fresh herbs, and a splash of white wine or lemon juice. Stir-fry sliced pompoms with chicken and snow peas.   

Porcini See Cepe.

Portobello / Cultivated - The cap of this meaty mushroom can be larger than your salad plate. Lots of vegetarians sink their teeth into a portobello instead of a sirloin. The best way to prepare it is by marinating and grilling.  

Puffball / Spring & Summer -  A round, white, thick-fleshed egg of a mushroom. From marble-sized to over 50 lbs. The density of this mushroom permits wide thick slices, which serve as pizza and "bruschetta" platforms. Flavor is negligible...go for broke with toppings. 

Shiitake / Cultivated - A workhorse mushroom too often snubbed. Its earthiness makes it a best bet for a saute to accompany veal, a sauce-y shroom for pasta, and a base mushroom on which to build a soup. To boot, it's a low-maintenance fungus with a long shelf life. 

Shimeji / Cultivated - Small, smooth, pearl-gray cap about an inch in diameter. In the oyster family, grows in a cluster. Used as a garnish to meats, Asian-style entrees. Can deep-fry.  

St-Georges / Spring -  Looks like a large domestic button mushroom, but is wild, with a creamy, assertive flavor. Slice and saute, roast, and grill. Good with polenta, fish, and with green vegetables.   

Truffle, Black /  Fall / Winter - Prized for its aromatic properties, which include musk, earth, and sex. A round, black, bumpy fungus, it should be firm, dry, and aromatic. Must be heated to release its aroma. Use in scrambled eggs, scalloped potatoes, under the skin of a chicken. 

Truffle, Chinese / Fall & Winter - Black and very similar in appearance to French one. Smaller, harder, less aromatic, but a bargain for sure. Many truffle eaters are duped into paying French truffle prices for this lesser-grade truffle.

Truffle, White / Fall - Heavily aromatic, perhaps the world's most expensive item. And worth it. Use raw, shaved over pasta, carpaccio, risotto. No need to do anything more elaborate.  

White Trumpet / Cultivated - Delicate flavor, uniform trumpet shape, needs little or no trimming, and no cleaning. Saute with chanterelles, yellowfoot and black trumpets, and serve as a side dish. Stuff a hen or other bird with white trumpets, onion and garlic.   

Wild Oyster / Summer - Larger, moister, and sweeter than the cultivated variety. Serve as a side to fish or seafood.   

Wine Cap / Summer and Fall - Brown cap brushed with red, same shape as shiitake. Sautes and stews in harmony with autumnal tubers such as potatoes, turnips, and crosnes.  

Yellowfoot / Fall & Winter - A member of the chanterelle family, this brownish, mushroom is typically vase-shaped, with ridges running from wrinkled cap to bright gold stem. Inexplicably, the French call this one "chanterelle grise"

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Marché Aux Delices
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