Kitsap Peninsula Mycological Society KPMS: Amanita Kitsap Peninsula Mycological Society
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KPMS Mushroom of the Month for May 2008

Botanical:

Russula xerampelina

Russula xerampelina
Common: Shrimp Russula
Description: Cap 5-14 cm, convex, later flattening and with a depression, colors varied and mixed, dull purples, reds, wine-colored, cinnamon, straw, fawn, brick or dull brown, moderately firm, sometimes hard, soon dry and matt; margin eventually furrowed, one-quarter peeling at most. Stalk 1-4 cm x 3-12 cm, white or tinted rose, staining honey to brownish ochre especially on bruising, firm to hard. Flesh white. Taste mild. Smell mild to fishy with age. Gills adnate to adnexed, creamy white becoming dull yellowish to brown, fairly broad and thick.
Habitat: solitary to common under conifers, mostly Douglas fir; fall.
Primary keys: dull red/purple/purple/olive cap (not bright red), pink blush on stem, stem always slowly bruises yellow, taste mild (not peppery or acrid), cap viscid when wet with stuck debris when dry.
Edibility: Good to choice.
 
Comments: this mushroom is extremely variable, but the keys above should make for easy identification. The young mushrooms caps are mild & great for stuffing & broiling, and the middle-aged mushrooms have enough of the shrimp characteristic to work well as a mild meat or seafood substitute. Old or dried mushrooms can be downright fishy, but that can be advantageous in Asian or strong dishes.

Recipe: Russula Cheese Chowder

1 large onion, chopped
2 T. butter
2 cups cubed potatoes
1 cup water + 1 cup chicken stock
1/4c dry white wine
1/2 t. dried dill
1 lb. Russula xerampelina, chopped
2 cups milk
1 cup cream
aslt & pepper
2 grates fresh nutmeg
1 cup grated Swiss or Cheddar cheese

Saute onion in butter in large pot over medium heat. Add potatoes, water, stock, wine, salt, pepper, and dill. Simmer covered until potatoes are tender. Add mushrooms, milk, cream, and nutmeg. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add cheese and keep on low heat, stirring frequently, until cheese melts.