Wednesday, September 01, 2010

food geekery, or, a taste test

Another fungi post. "Gee," you might be thinking, "doesn't he do anything other than mushrooms?" Well, shortly, yes. Bird season has started, but the doves aren't around that we can see and other adventures are afoot, keeping us off the ridges looking for blue grouse.

Before too long, I hope to do some salmon blogging. And grouse blogging. Maybe a little fall trout blogging and, before we know it, it'll be time for lots of duck blogging. Maybe some dove and quail blogging and almost certainly a little pheasant blogging. This year, there likely won't be any elk or deer blogging. In any event, as all you outdoor folks know, sometimes you have a good year for one thing or another and, when that happens, you'd best take advantage. I remember my Dad and Grandad talking about shooting pintails in south Texas after Hurricane Beulah by walking the rows down orange groves and pushing the swimming birds in front of each other to flush. Got lemons?- Lemonade.

In our case, we've had a good year with lots of mushrooms. So, we've been hunting and picking mushrooms. If every grouse in northern NM had three clutches this summer, you'll probably read a ton about bird shooting on high ridges. Same thing if we find a nearby dove hot spot and they decide to hang around through September. For now, more mushrooms.

After our trip up to the high country where we found king boletes (boletus edulis) we checked another part of a more local mountain range. There, we found a few white kings (boletus barowsii) hanging on and a few puffballs. So, in hand, we had some prime king boletes and some prime white king boletes. Recently, a couple of serious food bloggers have wondered at the difference in flavor between the two. Give the chance, we put on a little taste test. We picked some nice examples of each (the kings are the mushrooms with the lovely mahogany colored caps),

sliced them up,

and gave them a little time in some hot butter.

Once they were about equally done, we ground a little fresh pepper on and sprinkled them with a bit of salt.

So, the verdict?

Definitely different. The barowsii have a slightly spicy note reminiscent of a really good parmesan cheese. The edulis are a bit more sweet and have a rich, mushroom-y note that seems to call for red wine, rich sauces, and meat. Each very good, but not quite the same. It'll be interesting figuring out how to get the most out of the more delicate flavor of the white kings. Grouse and pheasant, likely.


Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

Go with partridges, pheasant or quail on the white porcini, ruffed grouse for the edulis - at least those are my $0.02.


mdmnm said...