A delectable fungus: comb tooth

 Marian and Brenna size up a comb tooth

Danny and I spent a peaceful cottage weekend with my daughters, Marian and Brenna. It was long awaited and much enjoyed. We also had the good fortune to come across this edible comb tooth fungus, Hericium coralloides.

Actually, the woods around our cottage produces an embarrassing wealth of fungi. Check out the fungus gallery I posted last year at this time. One of the specimens photographed was a close relative, H. americanum.

Upon identifying that one back home, I learned it was edible. I mistook this year’s find for the same thing and proclaimed it edible, too. I was careless to trust my memory.

So that was where the good fortune came in, because H. coralloides is also edible. Not only that, it was perhaps the most delicious mushroom I have ever tasted, slightly sweet. Sautéed in margarine (because we did not have any butter) and white wine then very lightly dusted with salt, it tasted steak-like and maintained a good meaty texture.

Brenna does not like mushrooms, but to her credit she sampled a little. Danny, Marian and I had plenty to share from this one beautiful cluster, and we saw others in the woods.

I have also found oyster mushrooms there in the fall. This time of year is becoming a family time to close the cottage and celebrate the end of the season by foraging for delectable fungi.

Comb tooth is widespread, common and grows on dead hardwood trunks. Never eat a wild mushroom unless you are certain of its identity. This is a lesson to myself: always take the mushroom field guide to the cottage.

[Update: having viewed numerous photos on the web, I’m again uncertain about the species identification. However, members of genus Hericium are edible and highly sought by mushroom lovers.]

Hericium coralloides


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