Kitsap Peninsula Mycological Society KPMS: Cantharellus Kitsap Peninsula Mycological Society
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KPMS Mushroom of the Month for Ocotober 2008

Botanical:

Agaricus campestris
Photo © Michael Wood,
courtesy of MykoWeb

Agaricus campestris
Common: Meadow or Field Mushroom
Description: Cap: 3-11 cm; convex to broadly convex, occasionally nearly flat; whitish; smooth and glossy to fibrous to nearly wooly or scaly. Gills: Free from the stem; deep pink becoming brown and then dark chocolate brown in maturity; crowded; covered with a thin white partial veil when in the button stage. Stem: 2-6 cm long; 1-2.5 cm thick; more or less equal; sometimes tapering slightly to base; with a quickly collapsing white ring; not bruising yellow. Flesh: Thick and white throughout; not bruising yellow anywhere, even in the base of the stem; very rarely discoloring a pinkish wine color in wet weather. Spore print: chocolate brown. Odor and Taste: Pleasant & "mushroomy".
Habitat: growing alone, gregariously, or sometimes in fairy rings, in meadows, fields, lawns, and grassy areas; late fall to early winter.
Primary keys: grassland habitat, white cap, pink gills turning chocolate brown with age, fragile membrane & faint ring, "mushroom" smell (not phenolic or anise), not staining yellow.
Edibility: Choice.
 
Comments: this is the most widely eaten European & American wild mushroom and is the closest cousin to commercial A. bisporus mushrooms, but with a much better flavor.
Notes: The primary keys are critical for safe identification. A different odor or yellow staining could be a mildly toxic Agaricus, and white gills and/or a faint volva could be a deadly Amanita.

Recipe: Afelia (traditional dish from Cyprus)

1 lb. lean pork, cut into 1" cubes
1 lb. new yellow potatoes
1 med onion, sliced
1 lb. Agaricus campestris buttons, cleaned & halved
   (or white or crimini commercial A. bisporus)
6 T. vegetable oil
1.5 C. good red wine
2 T. coriander seed, well crushed
1 stick cinammon
salt & fair amount of pepper

Marinate the pork overnight in the refrigerator with the wine, coriander, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Darin meat & pat dry, reserving the marinade. Heat 2 T. oil in a large deep skillet (not cast iron) with fitting lid. Add the whole potatoes and lightly brown on all sides over medium-high heat. Remove potatoes & set aside. Add 2 more T. oil to pan and brown the pork on all sides. Remove pork & set aside with potatoes. Add last 2 T. oil and saute the onion until almost browned, then add the mushrooms and saute 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and add pork, potatoes and reserved marinade back to pan. Cover and simmer 45 minutes or until pork & potatoes are tender and sauce is very thick. Correct seasoning & serve with a tossed green salad.

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